In Croatia, since 2003, the first day of Lent is marked as a No Smoking Day in order to encourage smokers to quit smoking. This day, aside from thinking about abstinence, represents a chance for the smokers to reflect upon their addiction of smoking tobacco, their health and the health of their loved ones, as well as the health of others around them who inhale tobacco smoke.
According to the research on the use of tobacco among the adult population implemented in Croatia in 2015, 31.1% of the population was smoking, and those who are the most exposed to tobacco smoke in their home are non-smokers aged between 15 and 24, 32.9% of them. According to the World Health Organization, in Croatia 9,264 or even 18% of all deaths among people aged 30 and older are associated with smoking. In men it even amounts to 28%, which is higher than the European average. These data indicate the early onset of smoking and a large proportion of smokers among the younger generation.
Smoking tobacco is one of the leading causes of diseases and death that can be prevented. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemical substances of carcinogenic and irritating effects, as well as nicotine, a substance that causes addiction. Therefore, there are many reasons why a decision on quitting smoking would be the best decision for the health of smokers and persons close to them.
Some facts that can help you in the decision to stop smoking
What are the benefits for your health if you stop smoking?
- Within 20 minutes, the heart rate and blood pressure drops.
- Within 12 hours, the levels of carbon monoxide in the blood drop.
- In 2 to 12 weeks, blood circulation and lung function improve.
- After nine months at latest, cough and breathing difficulties are reduced.
- After a year, the risk of cardiovascular diseases decreases in half in comparison to smokers.
- After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer decreases in half in comparison to smokers.
- After 15 years, the risk of coronary heart diseases is equal to that of non-smokers.
What benefits do people close to you get if you stop smoking?
- the risk of premature birth and low birth weight decreases
- the chance of having a miscarriage drops
- the risk of sudden infant death syndrome decreases
- the risk of respiratory diseases and asthma decreases
- the risk of ear infections decreases
- the risk of coronary heart disease reduces
- the risk of nose irritation reduces
- the risk of lung cancer reduces
How to quit smoking?
The best thing to do is to make a decision to quit smoking, choose a day and simply stop.
Do not be surprised nor disappointed if you happen to fail to stop smoking at first. With every attempt your increase the chances of quitting and therefore do not give up!
Look for support in the process of quitting. Ask your family members not smoke in front of you if you just stopped smoking. Family physician or even a psychiatrist can provide a psychological support and, if necessary, medication.
What to expect when you quit smoking?
You can expect the emergence of abstinence disorders, which can be fairly unpleasant, but not particularly dangerous. You can feel the tension, nervousness, difficulties to concentrate, fatigue or insomnia, slowed heart rate, lower blood pressure, increased appetite, desire and similar. The symptoms are most pronounced between 24 and 48 hours after quitting, and may last longer, but the intensity will decrease.
Once you stop smoking, it is strictly forbidden to experiment. And only one “smoke” can take you back to the beginning. Do not fool yourself that it can be “occasional” or “recreational” to smoke.
Quit smoking forever.
Who to turn to for help?
You can contact a general medicine doctor who can, if necessary, send you to an expert who can help you.
You can receive help even without a referral note in the departments for mental health preservation, prevention and outpatient addiction treatment in the public health institutes (one in each county).
You can also look for help in your local community if there are any non-smoking courses and / or some other forms of group support.
You can quit smoking also with the help received via anonymous and free hotline – White Phone 0800 7999