Stoptober and Go Sober for October

Posted on: 17/10/2020

Stoptober and Go Sober for October have become annual fixtures in our calendars in recent years, promoting the health benefits of quitting smoking and drinking sensibly.

Here we take a look at the benefits and share some tips on how to quit smoking and reduce our alcohol levels.

Benefits of quitting smoking

It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for a person’s health as it can cause a wide range of health complications including cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. However, did you know that after just 20 minutes of quitting smoking you can see an improvement in your overall health?

Take a look at the benefits here:

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop
  • 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal
  • 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves, and your lung function increases
  • 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease
  • 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's
  • 5 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5 to 15 years after quitting
  • 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker, and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases
  • 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s

Tips on how to quit smoking:

  • List your reasons to quit
  • Tell people you're quitting
  • If you have tried to quit before, remember what worked
  • Use stop smoking aids including nicotine patches
  • List your smoking triggers and how to avoid them
  • Keep cravings at bay by keeping busy
  • Exercise away the urge

Drink sensibly

Regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health. The recommended weekly limit of 14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. 

If you drink less than 14 units a week, this is considered low-risk drinking. It's called "low risk" rather than "safe" because there's no safe drinking level. The type of illnesses you can develop after 10 to 20 years of regularly drinking more than 14 units a week include cancer, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system. There's also evidence that regular drinking at high-risk levels can make your mental health worse.

The benefits of drinking sensibly are:

  • Feeling less tired
  • Your skin looks better
  • Having more energy
  • Better weight management
  • Improved mood
  • Better quality sleep
  • The immune system works better to fight off infections

Tips on how to reduce how much you drink:

  • Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink.
  • Set a fixed budget of money to spend on alcohol
  • Tell your friends and family, you could get support from them
  • Cut back a little each day. That way, every day you do is a success
  • You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one
  • Cut down by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle
  • Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks
  • Have several drink-free days each week

Small, considered changes can have a lasting impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Why not make some small changes and see how much better you feel for them.