Myth Busters

“It’s too late for me to quit – I’m too old?!”

It's never too late to quit. Stopping at any age will increase your life expectancy, provided that you stop before you develop cancer or another serious disease. Within the first 24 hours of stopping, your blood pressure and lungs will be showing improvement.

  • After three months your circulation and breathing should have improved noticeably.
  • After five years, your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.
“I’ve failed that many times I may as well carry on smoking!”

If you've tried before and it didn't work out don't worry. You haven't failed!

Next time you quit, spend a little longer planning and think about what really worked for you last time and what made you lapse. Think about how you are going to keep on track this time. The preparation you do at the beginning really can make all the difference.

“I smoke when I’m stressed.”

Despite what you may think, nicotine doesn't calm you down. A common misconception is that smoking helps to reduce stress, but smoking actually increases the physical stress on the body and is far more dangerous than any stress that comes from quitting.

It is the cravings from cigarettes that make you feel stressed and anxious, so when you smoke the cigarette you feel calmer. Stopping smoking can actually reduce your stress levels and you'll feel much better and healthier once you quit. You might be feeling stressed from time to time and you might feel that smoking helps you cope, but non-smokers usually have lower stress levels than smokers.

If you want a cigarette, wait for 10 minutes and the craving will usually pass. Take some deep breaths or go for a walk to relieve the stress and distract you from those cravings.

Are NRT products just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes?

No. Damage to a smoker's health is caused by the tar, carbon monoxide and over 4,000 toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke. NRT helps to reduce the nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms without these harmful poisons.


“I’m ok, I smoke menthol and low tar cigarettes. These are healthier for me”

No. If you smoke "light", "mild" or "low tar" cigarettes you are likely to inhale as much tar, nicotine and other poisons as those people who smoke regular cigarettes. The use of these misleading descriptions was banned from cigarette packaging in the EU in September 2003.

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