Why is smoking harmful?
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals - many are irritants or toxins and at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer. When you smoke these chemicals go straight into your lungs and through them to the rest of your body. Everyone around you is also exposed to harmful second-hand smoke containing poisonous toxins and carbon monoxide.
Even if you only smoke low tar or mild cigarettes you can take in as much tar, carbon monoxide and other poisonous substances as smokers of regular cigarettes.
If you are pregnant, stopping smoking is one of the best things you and your partner can do to help your baby develop healthily. When you smoke during pregnancy the harmful chemicals pass to your baby, increasing the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. When exposed to second-hand smoke, children are more likely to have chest problems, ear diseases and there is also an increased chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Around 96,000 deaths are caused by smoking in the UK every year. If you smoke and are under the age of 40 you are five times more likely to have a heart attack. One quarter of all cancers including lung, mouth, lip, throat, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, liver and neck of the womb, are caused by smoking. If you are a long-term smoker, on average, your life expectancy is about 10 years less than a non-smoker.
Why stop smoking?
Stopping smoking can have a positive effect on you, your health and your family in many different ways. Including:
- Up to 9 months after quitting, your lung function will increase by up to 10%; improving breathing problems, coughs and wheezes.
- One year after stopping smoking the risk of having a heart attack is halved compared to a smoker. After 15 years it falls to the same level of someone who has never smoked.
- Your general fitness will improve; with increased energy, you will feel less stressed; and the appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.
- You will save money - the average smoker has 13 cigarettes a day, which works out as 364 cigarettes a month. That's £141 a month and £1,696 a year that you could be saving by not smoking. Use the Healthy You cost calculator to work out how much you could save.
- Protecting the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
Whatever your age you can expect a range of benefits if you stop smoking. Stopping smoking can make a great improvement to your lifestyle and health; quitting is the best thing you’ll ever do.
Stopping smoking – top tips
- Think Positive! Quitting is not easy
- Get Help… you are 4 times more likely to quit with support. You can get advice and guidance from your Doctor, Pharmacist and local stop smoking service.
- Consider your reasons to quit… make a list of your reasons to quit and keep reminding yourself of these. Reasons could be for better all-round health, money saving, or setting a good example to your children/grandchildren.
- Make a plan…Set a quit date and stick to it. Think about times where it might be difficult for you and plan in advance for these to help manage your cravings.
Information and support for stopping smoking
Many people succeed in giving up smoking without any help or by using over-the-counter nicotine replacement (NRT) products like patches or gum.
However, statistics show that you're three times more likely to quit for good with our support….
Healthy You is Cambridgeshire’s local stop smoking service. Specialist Advisors focus on providing advice, information and support to local people who are thinking of stopping smoking. Whether you're a young person who's started smoking relatively recently or an adult who's been smoking since childhood, Healthy You’s friendly team can help you start out on the road to quitting. Experienced Advisors will be able to support smokers via a 12 week programme; including access to medication which will improve their success rate, such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), Zyban and Varenicline via NHS prescriptions.
Healthy You also have a specialist Advisor who is able to offer support if you are pregnant and wanting support to quit.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have recently become very popular with people who want help to stop smoking. They are an effective tool as part of the quitting journey. In 2015, Public Health England said “e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health then tobacco and have the potential to help smokers quit smoking”. E-cigarettes are currently not a licensed medical product which means they are unavailable on prescription, however Healthy You Advisors can provide support to people who choose to buy and use a E-Cigarette.
To get free help and support with quitting smoking, you can complete an online referral form or give Healthy You a call on 0333 005 0093.
Support can also be provided through your GP surgery and through selected pharmacies across the county.
Local sources of information and support
We know that most people who buy illegal tobacco do it because it is cheap but the true costs are higher. Find out more information about illegal tobacco and why you should be concerned.
NHS smoke free app
The NHS Smokefree app can help you stop smoking by giving daily support and motivation. If you stay smokefree for the 4-week programme you're up to five times more likely to quit for good.