Cured the hep C? Next up, quit smoking

You may have read recently that health experts in the US are concerned that the health gains made by treating people with hep C will be lost because this group is three times more likely to be smokers. While we don’t have any figures about how many people with hepatitis C smoke here in Australia, we do know from personal experience that there are many smokers among people who’ve been treated.

If you’ve cured your hepatitis C and are still smoking, it may be time to tackle your next great health challenge!

It’s really worth it

When you smoke it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of “it’ll never happen to me” but don’t kid yourself. Smoking can lead to a much higher risk of developing many health conditions including stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and respiratory conditions. In fact, smoking kills half of all people who continue to smoke and at least 1 in 4 of those who die are aged 35-69. The good news is that your risk starts to drop as soon as you stop smoking.

You can do it

Although we all know how difficult it can be, every year fewer and fewer people smoke. Smoking rates have dropped ten per cent over the last two decades.  In Australia only 14 per cent of people smoke regularly now compared to 36 per cent in the 1970s. That’s a lot of people quitting for good. Even if you’ve stopped before and taken up smoking again you can still quit.

You treated your hepatitis C because you wanted a longer, healthier life so why smoke?

What works?

Nicotine replacement therapy and stop smoking medications have helped many people to quit while others have successfully given up without them (also known as going cold turkey). There’s no one right way to quit, just the way that works for you.

The Quitline has a thorough breakdown of your options. Think through what you believe will work for you and give it a try. If you aren’t successful the first time there’s no reason you can’t try another approach next time or even the same one again.

Getting support to stop greatly increases your chances of quitting so talk things through with the Quitline on 13 7848.

What about vaping?

Vaping hasn’t been approved as a quit smoking treatment in Australia and it’s not clear that it can help people give up. In fact, a recent study found people who vaped were less likely to quit. Vaping is currently not recommended as a proven way to quit smoking.

Expect some setbacks

Most people have setbacks when they quit and need to give up more than once so go easy on yourself if this happens to you. Although it can be disappointing to not meet your goal the first time, your efforts aren’t wasted and the things you learn can help you get through your next attempt.

Why do you want to quit?

Working out why it’s important to you to stop smoking can help you get and stay motivated when things get tough. Whatever your reason — your health, the cost of smoking, your kids or grand kids, or not wanting to be addicted — staying focussed on why you’re quitting can help get you through. 

You treated your hepatitis C because you wanted a longer, healthier life so why smoke? If you feel better after being cured of hepatitis C, imagine how great you can feel as a non-smoker.

Rose starting smoking as a teenager, quit 5 times and hasn’t smoked since 2013.

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