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How's your stopping smoking effort going? You're doing so well - and at almost two weeks in - you're through the worst. Part 2 of 4 in our Smoking Cessation series to help support you further

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Smoking Cessation Part 2

Signs health is improving after quitting

There are certain initial not so pleasant health effects which occur within the first few weeks of giving up. These will make people feel miserable for a while, but they will pass within a few weeks and are a sign health is improving. Many quitters get a cough or sore throat that gets worse before it gets better. It is caused by the body clearing thick tar and mucus from the lungs and should be cleared in a few weeks. Breathe in steam or sip water. Some develop mouth ulcers and dry mouth in the first two weeks after giving up smoking. This is a sign that the blood supply to the lining of the mouth is improving. Dizziness and headaches may develop because more oxygen is reaching the brain. Tingling may develop in hands and feet which is caused by the increased oxygen supply to the limbs and is a good sign as it shows the body is recovering.

Three steps to giving up


Deciding to give up smoking and really wanting to succeed are important steps in becoming a non-smoker. There are three steps to giving up smoking:

  • preparing to stop,
  • stopping, and
  • staying stopped.

It can take up to three months to become a non-smoker, but it usually takes less. The physical craving for a cigarette often disappears in less than a week, but the psychological craving can last longer.

Step 1 - Preparing to stop

It is important that people stop smoking because they want to. Think of the many benefits gained by stopping smoking. giving up smoking is not easy but remember that the first 3-4 days will be the most difficult. If a person can, give up with a friend, or family member, who also wants to quit.

Here are a few tips to help give up:

  • a specific date to give up, and cutting down on the number of cigarettes smoked before that date,
  • the support of family and friends will help give up,
  • a reward for the end of the first day, first week, first month
  • get rid of everything smoking related (cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters) on the day before giving up.

Step 2 - Stopping

The initial goal is to get through the first day without smoking. If there is a need to put something in the mouth, use chew sugar-free gum, or something else that is healthy and non-fattening, such as fruit. If needing to do something with one’s hands, find something to fiddle with, such as a pencil, a coin, or a stress relief ball.

Step 3 - Staying stopped

Take it one day at a time. Think positively, remain determined, and rewarding oneself can help. At the beginning, it may help to change normal routine to avoid situations that are normally associated with smoking. Avoiding alcohol for a while may also help.

Most importantly, do not give up trying to quit, even if not successful the first time. Most people need several attempts at quitting long-term before they stop smoking completely.

Support from the HSE

Contact the Quit Team for free support at Freephone: 1800 201 203, Free text: QUIT to 50100, Email: Twitter: @HSEQuitTeam


What is BPro Cardio Screen Service?

BPro Cardio Screen measures stiffness of your arteries to identify risk of blockages and risk of cardiovascular disease and circulation problems. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is pain free. A pulse wave reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now €35 (was €50); it only takes about 15 minutes. The next clinic is Saturday Jan 30th from 9am to 6pm) at Whelehans Pearse St. Book by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591. We take all safety precautions to keep you safe from COVID 19.

To be continued… next week on treatment options to help stop smoking

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).


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