Dr James Marsh, Joint Medical Director at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, is urging people to start 2017 off on the right foot by giving up smoking for good.
Research by Public Health England shows that 70% of health-related difficulties that can develop as people age are down to lifestyle choices. In response, the organisation has launched its One You campaign aimed at showing people that by exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, drinking less and sleeping better – we could all make major improvements to our own health.
James said: “We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and to focus on our own health and wellbeing, and with a new year ahead of us it is important to remind people that there are many small steps we can take to make major improvements to our long term health.
“Quitting smoking has numerous health benefits such as helping people breathe more easily and cough less – when you give up smoking, lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months. In later years, having maximum lung capacity can mean the difference between an active, healthy old age and wheezing when you go for a walk or climb the stairs. You will also be giving a boost to your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body can also reduce tiredness and the likelihood of headaches.
“And if all of that isn’t reason enough to quit, it’s important to remember that smoking cigarettes is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer – it is responsible for more than 85% of all cases. If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, you are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker.”
According to NHS Choices, being smoke-free helps to relieve stress, anxiety and depression and gives people a more positive outlook on life.
Tips to stop smoking include: seeing an NHS smoking adviser, using a nicotine patch and to avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs that effect your mind.
Public Health England is also encouraging people to take their How Are You Quiz, which provides an assessment of participants’ health and gives them a health score and links to free and personalised information apps and tools.
Dr Marsh added: “Some people do ignore the signs and choose to do nothing about improving their general health, but the consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic and that is why I am urging people to start 2017 in the right way by putting out their cigarette, and to seek help to ensure they kick the habit for good."
For more information about the benefits of quitting smoking, visit NHS Choices.
If you want to find out more about Public Health England’s One You campaign, visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/#eAqV8RkkbPpgQwlP.97.