The health benefits from quitting smoking are almost immediate.
- 20 minutes – your pulse and blood pressure drop
- 12 hours – toxins in the blood (known as carbon monoxide) drops to normal levels
- 2 weeks to 3 months – breathing and circulation improves
- 1 to 9 months – coughs and shortness of breath improve as lungs begin to recover, reducing the risk of infection.
If you want to stop
Stopping smoking at any time is one of the best things you can do for your health.
You'll be in a better position to deal with any illness affecting your breathing and lungs.
If you are quitting without any support from medication or NRT it's important you keep up the great work.
It's important to keep your hands busy to help you break the cycle of smoking. Think about starting a new hobby or activity.
There are a number of places to get help.
Your local Quit Your Way service offers specialist stop smoking support.
Quit Your Way Scotland’s national advice line is available on 0800 84 84 84 from 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday) and can give stop smoking advice or advise you of your nearest Quit Your Way service.
NHS Inform has useful pages about stopping smoking or you could download Public Health Scotland's booklet on how to stop smoking. Other languages are available on request.
Your local GP and pharmacy service can also help. Give yourself enough time to get your prescription, they might be busy at this time, so you might need to leave a bit more time than usual.
Having a plan will give you a better chance of success. NHS Inform has online resources to help you create a quit plan.
Your GP practice and local pharmacy service can also help. They might be busy at the moment so allow a little more time for your prescription than usual.
If you're already trying to stop
It's important you keep going for the good of your health and there's plenty of help available.
If you're using or are planning to use local Quit Your Way services for specialist stop smoking support, check Scotland's Service Directory (SSD) for local information or call Quit Your Way Scotland’s national advice line on 0800 84 84 84 from 9am to 5pm (Monday to Friday).
If you start smoking again, remember people often take several tries before they manage to quit for good.
Stay positive – it will happen. Set up a personal quit plan for another attempt
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
If you’re using NRT or Varenicline (Champix), you should still be able to get prescriptions and products as normal or, in some circumstances, delivered to your home.
To check if your local Health Board offer this service, visit Scotland's Service Directory or contact Quit Your Way Scotland free on 0800 84 84 84, for details.
If you're quitting using an e-cigarette, it's important you don't continue to smoke as using both is more harmful.
However, if you are quitting by using an e-cigarette, equipment and liquids are still available in supermarkets.
E-cigarette use will increase hand-to-mouth contact. Wash your hands before and after use and keep your e-cigarette clean to help stop the spread of infection.
Don't want to stop right now?
Smoking increases hand-to-mouth contact and can spread germs and infections, including coronavirus.
It's important not to share tobacco products such as lighters.
Coronavirus can survive on paper, plastic and metal surfaces. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after smoking.
Tobacco smoke is harmful to people you live with. Although the smoke disappears quickly, it leaves high levels of invisible and harmful toxins in the air for up to 5 hours afterwards.
Do what you can to prevent other people breathing in your smoke.
Consider forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as gum, patches or lozenges to get you through, always washing your hands before and after use.
If you need to smoke, then it's best to take it right outside.
Lower the risk by smoking in the garden or when you take the bins out and always wash your hands afterwards.
If it's not possible to smoke outside, only smoke in one room in your home, preferably one others don’t use. If you can, open a window for as long as possible during and afterwards.