Can people quit smoking?

Smoking can be hard to quit. However, we believe it is important that smokers who decide to quit realise they can, provided they have the motivation to quit and the belief that they can.

We believe that if you want to quit, you should.

Many smokers are said to be dependent on cigarettes, because although they know the real risks of disease involved they still smoke frequently and find it very difficult to quit.

However, millions of smokers have quit without any medical help and millions have modified how often, where and when they smoke in the light of differing social norms. In some countries, such as the UK, there are now as many ex-smokers as smokers.

Various ways have been suggested to help people quit, including using nicotine replacement therapy (eg. patches and gums). While all these forms of assistance may be beneficial, the most important factors in successfully quitting are having the motivation to quit and the self-belief that you can do so.

What people should consider about quitting:

  • Smoking can be hard to quit. Any adult thinking of starting to smoke should consider that it may be difficult to stop later.
  • For people wanting to quit, the keys are motivation and self-belief.
  • There is nothing so powerful about the pleasure of smoking that prevents smokers from quitting, if they have motivation and confidence in their ability to do so.
  • Many millions of people have quit smoking successfully.
  • Advice on quitting smoking is available from many sources, including public health authorities and health professionals, and some countries have national telephone quit lines.

Do you want to quit smoking?

The decision to smoke is a personal choice and so is the decision to quit.

In view of the health risks associated with tobacco use, some smokers might ask themselves to what extent are these risks reduced if they decrease the number of cigarettes smoked per day, instead of quitting completely.

With this in mind, public health authorities have consistently informed smokers that the best way to prevent tobacco use-related risks is not to smoke, and this view is fully shared by British American Tobacco Caribbean & Central America (BATCCA). Knowledge available indicates that the length of time a person has smoked is the most significant risk factor for disease.

In this sense, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1997 expressed: “data clearly shows that quitting smoking brings substantial health benefits, regardless of the length of time or the number of cigarettes a person has smoked.” They report, for example, that “the risk of coronary heart disease among excessive smokers, 10 years after quitting, could eventually revert to the risk levels of never smokers.”

Are you considering quitting smoking?

Since some people may find it difficult to quit smoking, next is a list of institutions, centres and clinics that in one way or another can offer guidance or support to those people who have decided to quit smoking. It is not a definitive list and information may vary at any moment and without notice

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