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This is the day when tens of thousands of people will look to give up smoking. In fact, since the day launched (over 35 years ago) the British Heart Foundation say some 1.5m have achieved their goal. They’ve not only found the health benefits that result but happiness ones too, with quitters reporting a new found energy for life, new hobbies to help others (just look at all the reformed smokers running marathons to raise funds), and new relationships with family and friends, not to mention new found cash (20-a-day smokers save over £2,500 a year after quitting). Could this year be your year?

Take a look at the British Heart Foundation’s advice below for stubbing out your last cigarette (their website at www.bhf.org.uk has lots more to share).

  1.   Pick a quit date. There’s none better than March 11, and get rid of reminders in advance (ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes).
  2.   Make a list of the reasons you want to quit and share them with someone, recruiting their support for your goal.
  3.   Exercise. Even a five-minute walk each day can help cut the cravings (and trigger the brain’s anti-craving chemicals). Better still, come into the gym or join a class. You’ll not only cut the cravings but feel the benefit as your breathing improves and fitness levels rise.
  4.   Use a stop-smoking support service. Ask at the GP’s surgery.
  5.   Avoid those trigger situations. If you usually smoke after dinner, go for a walk instead. If you join smokers outside work in your break at work, go somewhere else that’s smoke-free (ask a friend to join you) for a cuppa. And reward yourself using the money you save for a treat instead.  Ten-a-day smokers might pick up a £40 gift voucher (for food, make up, clothes?), five-a-dayers enjoy a £20 night out at the movies. And that’s just in the first week!