Quitting Smoking - Cut Down or Stop Completely?

This weekend just gone I spent Sunday with a lovely couple who had travelled over fifty miles to see me for help quitting smoking, having been referred my way by a friend who had also stopped smoking with me. One thing many smokers have tried in their previous quitting attempts is to start cutting down. 

It's perhaps long been assumed by many smokers that cutting down their habit must lead to a proportionate reduction in the risk of harm to their health. That is, if you go from a twenty a day habit down to ten a day, the surely the health risks must also be halved? 

However, recent research published in the British Medical Journal has found that, in the case of cardiovascular disease (the risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke),  

As they conclude in their findings, "Smoking only about one cigarette per day carries a risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke much greater than expected: around half that for people who smoke 20 per day. No safe level of smoking exists for cardiovascular disease. Smokers should aim to quit instead of cutting down to significantly reduce their risk of these two common major disorders."

That's pretty hard hitting stuff if you are currently a smoker and you thought that cutting down was safer in some way, the fact is, it just isn't that much safer with regards to heart disease and stroke risks. And perhaps this is even more alarming when you consider that, as reported by the BBC,  "cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the greatest mortality risk for smoking, causing about 48% of smoking-related premature deaths".

Interestingly, the BBC also reports on analysis that shows that most people who try one cigarette go on to become daily smokers.

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So if you are currently one of the ever decreasing number of people who still smoke, then the evidence suggests that you should be aiming to quit smoking rather than simply cut down. With regards to the health issues mentioned above, cutting down does not lead to a proportionate reduction in risk and even one a day carries substantial health risks.

That said, many people do find cutting down as a precursor to quitting smoking completely helpful. It narrows the scope of your habit which can psychologically make it seem more achievable to overcome. Yet I've worked with clients who have smoked anything up to forty or fifty cigarettes a day and who have been able to successfully quit, provided they are willing (and this is true of all smokers) to take an active part in their own success (and assuming of course that they actually do want to quit!).

Thus the advice has to be that smoking even one to five cigarettes a day is not as safe as may have been assumed and so it's worth considering quitting.

And if you are considering quitting smoking, you may want to start by downloading my free 'Kick The Habit' guide which gives plenty of useful advice and strategies that can help you on your journey to being a non-smoker.

Of course, if you are ready to take that step and to quit for good, then get in touch and let's talk about how we can work together to help you get there quickly and effectively.

To your health and happiness

Dan Regan

Quit Smoking Hypnotherapy Ely & Newmarket

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