Iwan Thomas, an Olympic silver medal winning sprinter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, recently found out his mother has developed COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) due to smoking all her life.
He’d never heard of the disease. However, after doctors fitted him with a special mask that simulates what the disease feels like, Iwan knew he needed to help people go smoke-free this January. Suddenly, simple tasks like walking up the stairs – even for someone as physically fit as him – turned into a real struggle.
Watch his experience here:
Symptoms like a smoker’s cough can be one of the early signs you’re doing irreparable damage to your body. There’s only one way to curb these negative side effects and that’s to nip it in the bud and quit smoking for good.
Iwan’s five handy tips to help you stub out your final cigarette:
1 If you use smoking as an emotional crutch try swapping it for some light exercise. Don’t do too much though! Start off slow and before long that stress-busting smoke will turn into a jog, instead. If jogging isn’t your thing find something else you love, there’s loads of sports out there.
2 Smoking often becomes a routine. Try to break the routine and anticipate the daily triggers that make you want to smoke. Swap a mid morning smoke for a brisk walk.
3 Team up with someone to keep motivated. Thousands of people try and quit smoking each year, so find a buddy to not only quit smoking with but also start a new healthy exercise regime.
4 Seek expert advice. Smokers looking to quit should search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit nhs.uk/smokefree for a whole range of free tools and support to help you kick the habit.
5 If the multitude of health and fitness benefits aren’t enough of an incentive to quit, just think of the money you can save! Spend that money on memories you keep forever like holidays or outings.
After gaining first hand experience of what effects a life of smoking can lead to, Iwan wants everyone to start their new year healthier, wealthier and smoke-free.
Smokers looking to quit are being encouraged to search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit nhs.uk/smokefree for the full range of free tools and support.
What bad habits have you given up for January? Tweet us @healthymag