Help is out there if you want to stop smoking

Stop smoking before March 14

Stop smoking before March 14 - Credit: Archant

Anil Sharma, owner of the Loves Farm Pharmacy, is writing a monthly online column, which will contain advice on a wide range of health issues. This month, he gives advice on how to quit smoking.

According to Public Health England, 16.9 per cent of adults in England smoke cigarettes and although this is a vast improvement (in 1974 50 per cent of men smoked) this still equates to 7.2 million people.

However, the experts also revealed that 2.5 million smokers tried to give up last year and with the widespread use of e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum, 500,000 of them managed to kick the habit.

So if you want to stop, why not set a date to quit – say March 14 - which is No Smoking Day this year, when many other people will be trying to stop. There are numerous treatments available from pharmacies that can help you beat your addiction while reducing your withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a medication that provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous chemicals present in tobacco smoke. It is available as:

• Skin patches

• Chewing gum

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• Inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes)

• Tablets, oral strips and lozenges

• Nasal and mouth sprays.

Patches release nicotine slowly. Some are worn all the time, and some should be taken off at night. Inhalators, gum and sprays act more quickly and may be better for stopping cravings. There is no evidence to show any single type of NRT is more effective than another. But there is good evidence that using a combination of NRT is more effective that a single product.

Often the best way to use NRT is to combine a patch with a faster acting form such as gum, inhalator or nasal spray.

Treatment with NRT usually last 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop. Another popular way to help you give up smoking is using e-cigarettes. These are electronic devices that deliver nicotine as a vapour, so you can inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking.

Research has shown that e-cigarettes can help you give up smoking. As with other approaches, they are most effective if used with support from an NHS stop smoking service. The best treatment for you will depend on your personal preference, your age and any medical conditions you have.

If you would like some professional advice from one of our smoking cessation consultants, call into the Loves Farm Pharmacy in Kester Way.

Anil Sharma, owner of the Loves Farm Pharmacy