Torbay’s Public Health Team is supporting research commissioned by Smokefree South West to coincide with the launch of its Be There Tomorrow campaign on Monday 8 February.
Nearly two thirds (62%) of ex-smokers in the South West are happier since they quit smoking with around a third saying that giving up smoking has led to major lifestyle changes. The survey also reveals that the vast majority of smokers (91 per cent) experienced reduced or the same levels of anxiety after quitting, even though 35 per cent of people thought that kicking the habit would increase their levels of anxiety.
The research also highlighted:
• 91% of ex-smokers experience reduced or same levels of anxiety after quitting
• 48% say they feel more in control of their future
• 5% say their sex life improved
• 27% say they have a more positive outlook on life
• 11% lost weight after giving up smoking
This is thought to be the first survey of its kind to look into the reasons why giving up smoking has a positive impact on people’s lives and it reveals that it has far reaching impacts beyond the well-known health and financial benefits.
One of the more interesting findings was the effect quitting had on relationships with around one in 20 people reporting that their sex life had improved. One in 10 said that quitting had resulted in weight loss.
Twelve per cent also reported that giving up smoking had been a catalyst for other family members and friends to quit too.
Cllr Derek Mills, Deputy Mayor and Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing and Corporate Services, said: “Smoking can have a bigger impact on your life than you first imagine. Of those people who felt happier as a result of quitting smoking, 48 per cent said it has made them feel more in control of their future and 27 per cent said their future seems more positive.
“A quarter said that quitting has made them realise they can do anything. This research shows that there are so many benefits to quitting and there is so much help available if you want to make this major life change.”
The 2016 Be There Tomorrow campaign launches and features a poignant and candid television advert, alongside billboard and radio advertising. The campaign highlights the special moments in life that 1 in 2 smokers who don’t stop early enough are likely to miss out on by dying early from their tobacco use.
The survey also found that 17 per cent of ex-smokers say that they used to panic and let things overwhelm them, but now have a more considered approach to life.
Almost half of respondents said that they now deal with stressful situations differently with more than 26 per cent stating they have more will power and now don’t give up on things so easily and 14 per cent reporting that they don’t get angry as easily and are more reasonable.
Kate Knight, deputy director for Smokefree South West, said:
“It’s widely known that quitting smoking has health and financial benefits but what is less well understood is the far reaching and sometimes surprising impacts it has on mental wellbeing and happiness.
“It is also interesting to see how former smokers perceived cigarettes as a way of helping them relax and de-stress, whereas in reality this survey shows that only a very small minority of people felt more anxious after quitting.”
Smokers are five times more likely to quit for good with the help of a trained stop smoking adviser alongside them. Local NHS Stop Smoking Services are free to attend and their friendly, expert teams offer practical help and advice, from tips on how to cope with cravings to finding the best tailor made way to quit. Visit www.betheretomorrow.co.uk and click on ‘find your local Stop Smoking Service’.
Recognising that both smokers and their loved ones need support during a stop smoking attempt, Smokefree South West has created a Facebook page to offer friendly help and advice on how to quit. Visit www.facebook.com/SmokefreeSW.