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Smoking

This month’s blog is all about smoking.  Again, it’s a topic that I feel quite close to.

Everyone will know someone who smokes or who have been touched by the impact of smoking, whether they’ve got cancer or some other smoking related disease.  It’s a common cause of early death in men and women, with half of all long-term smokers dying early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis.

My dad smokes 40 a day at least.  He’s now 65 and it really is a worry for me.  I lost my mum earlier this year and I don’t want to get another phone call telling me that my Dad’s not well.  It’s a constant concern.

"The place would be full of smoke and you wouldn’t think twice about going in there"

Back in the day it was kind of the norm.  I would sit in my parent’s car and they would smoke whilst I was sitting in the back, or I’d go to a pub with them and everyone would be smoking.  The place would be full of smoke and you wouldn’t think twice about going in there.

We’ve made great strides in the last few years with the introduction of smoking bans in public places, even in cars, but people still try to find a way to smoke if they’re addicted.  People often smoke because they think it helps to relieve stress but there are better ways to combat stress such as exercise, and like many other diseases you may not know you’ve got a health issue from smoking tobacco until it’s too late.

As a footballer I was never interested in smoking.  I’d always heard that smoking could restrict your growth – I’m 5ft 8, small enough as it is without smoking as well, I didn’t want to risk stunting my growth too!  Even in the noughties smoking was still frowned upon in a football environment yet I still knew players that smoked, they’d either have a sneaky fag after a game out of the window at Carrow Road or a few of them would light up socially on a night out.

Back in the day we played Inter Milan in the European Cup at the San Siro stadium.  It was a significant part of the history for Norwich City and we all turned up in the players’ lounge after losing 1 : 0 and every single one of the Italian players were smoking and drinking wine.  It was a cultural thing at the time, but quite a shock!

"E-cigarettes are a great way to help people quit and they are much less harmful than cigarettes"

I understand smoking is a very difficult thing to kick but you start to see the benefits almost straight away.  Your sense of smell and taste will get a boost and within two weeks you’ll find it easier to do physical exercise as your blood circulation starts to improve.  Walking up the stairs, going for a walk or a run will all become much easier, not to mention the money savings.  Thankfully there are lots of things out there to help people.  I’ve heard that E-cigarettes are a great way to help people quit and they are much less harmful than cigarettes, 95% less  according to Public Health England.

There’s also a useful online tool to help you find the best way to stop smoking– the triage tool online asks you three questions to find out how much you smoke and if you’ve tried in the past to quit.  It will then help you find the best stop smoking tool for you. It’s definitely worth a try.

Smoking is one of the hardest habits to crack but there are certainly enough reasons to do it when you hear the statistics.  Give it a try. Make a change.

You can contact Smokefree Norfolk 0800 0854113 for help or just visit your GP or pharmacy for advice.

Last month: Blood pressure

Next month: Mental health

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