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Blood check and NHS local service to help smokers quit

Everyone is aware that smoking is not a good idea.

According to the NHS, every cigarette smoked is harmful. They say that smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for more than 80,000 deaths each year. Half of all smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

But many people also understand that smoking can become such an ingrained habit and is so addictive that it can be very very difficult to give up. Studies show that as many as 60% of people who try to give up smoking start again after just a week.

There are of course lots of products and support available to help people stop smoking. Now a new blood test has been developed that could help people to quit smoking for good.

The research, undertaken at the University of Pennsylvania in America, was based around nicotine, which is about the most addictive substance in a cigarette.

The researchers wanted to find out if the rate that people break down nicotine in their body was linked to whether it was easier or harder to quit smoking.

They used nicotine patches, a drug called varenicline and a dummy pill in the research, and found a definite correlation in results relating to the rate of breakdown of nicotine in the blood and the ability to give up smoking.

It sounds..and is..a complex area but the general outcome is that the findings could lead to changes in practice and more specific treatments used for different people with better results.

This will, as with all medical developments, take a while to come in. In the meantime there is still a great deal of help available to stop smoking.

One area of support which many people don’t know about is the free local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

This has been developed by experts and ex-smokers and offers free personal advice, support and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good.

It can also advise on the best stop smoking medicines, nicotine replacement products and other ideas. They also offer added incentives including the measurement of carbon monoxide in your body (the CO level) using a carbon monoxide monitor. The monitor shows how your CO level drops to the same level as a non-smoker's, just 24 hours after your last cigarette which can be a real encouragement to keep going.

There are also support groups and sessions as many people find sharing the experience with others can be really helpful.

Find out more about this service at:
http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/help-and-advice/local-support-services-helplines

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