According to the latest Scottish Household Survey, there are 16,077 adult smokers living in Argyll and Bute - that’s more than one in five of the area’s adult population.
Smoking kills about half of its users prematurely. Undoubtedly the best reason to stop smoking is because you want to, and you feel it’s the right time to quit. You’re less likely to succeed if you are just doing it because other people tell you to or you think you ought to.
Your health: on average, smokers lose 10 years of their life because of their habit. Some of the health reasons to stop smoking include reducing the risk of getting life-threatening diseases like lung cancer, reducing the risk of disability from chronic illness, improving your general health so you get fewer colds and minor illnesses, helping you to heal more quickly making medication work better, and reducing the risks associated with surgery.
Your money: Smoking is an expensive habit. If you smoke an average 20-a-day, you will smoke 7,300 cigarettes a year. Even if you buy cheaper brands, that still means you spend at least £1,500 on cigarettes every year. So the cost of smoking really mounts up.
It’s not just the obvious cost of cigarettes that you have to think about. As well as the price of cigarettes, think about the less obvious costs such as health insurance premiums.
Try out the online cost calculator (see link to the right of this article) to work out how much you could save by quitting.
Other people’s health: Stop smoking for the sake of your friends and family. A non-smoker who lives with a smoker may be exposed to about one per cent of their tobacco smoke from passive smoking.
This can increase their chances of developing lung cancer or dying from a heart attack. Many smokers decide to stop to improve their chances of seeing their children or grandchildren grow up.
Your looks: Sometimes it’s the little things that count. Quitting smoking will improve how you look. Perhaps you’re sick of having stained teeth and fingers. Or you have wrinkles that make you look older than you are.
Stopping smoking can have positive effects on your skin. You will improve your skin tone and colour. You’re less likely to get wrinkles round your eyes and mouth from squinting when smoke gets in your eyes, and puckering up when you draw on a cigarette.
Quitting smoking also lowers your chances of developing psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that can be extremely uncomfortable and disfiguring.
Did you know that smoking affects the shape of your body too? Smoking causes changes in the glands that secrete hormones so smokers store more body fat around their waist and upper torso than their hips. This means smokers are likely to have a higher waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) than non-smokers.
A high WHR is associated with a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gall bladder problems and cancer of the womb and breast in women. Quitting means your body can get back to normal.
It’s not just the look of your teeth that can be affected by smoking. Smoking makes it harder for saliva to remove germs in your mouth so you have more chance of getting gum disease, which can lead to premature tooth loss and bad breath.
Stopping smoking means whiter teeth and a reduced risk of losing them – with fewer trips to the dentist too, with any luck.
Quality of life: A big issue for some smokers is feeling they’re not in control of their life – their cigarettes are. Giving up means freedom from an addiction that restricts the way you live.
Think about the extra time you’ll have to do other things. If it takes six minutes to smoke a cigarette, that works out at two hours a day for a 20-a-day smoker. That’s not including time spent emptying ashtrays, searching for lighters and buying cigarettes!
If you’d like some help and advice on stopping smoking or staying stopped, call Smokeline free on 0800 84 84 84 any time between 9am and 9pm, seven days a week or go to www.canstopsmoking.com.