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Smokers are at the greatest risk from illness and early death, and the younger you are when you start smoking, the harder it is to stop
Here’s the quick and simple version...
If you’ve already started smoking: make plans to give up and stop as soon as possible.
If you don’t smoke: great, and don’t even think about starting. Enjoy the fact that you’ve got more money in your pockets than any friends who smoke, and (statistically speaking) you’re due to have a longer and healthier life than they are.
England has been smoke-free in public places since 1 July 2007 and this is a great chance to give up because there are many fewer places where you can light up.
Good reasons to stop smoking (or not to start)
- smoking is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis and other illnesses and every year around 120,000 smokers die
- it’s not just tar that’s harmful — there are around 4,000 chemicals in each cigarette, including arsenic and formaldehyde
- for every 1,000 teenagers who start smoking, about half will die early from smoking-related illnesses
- smoking whilst pregnant can be dangerous for the unborn baby
- the nicotine in tobacco is addictive, making it hard to stop once you have started
- £££! If you smoke ten cigarettes a day you will spend around £1000 a year — you could buy loads of DVDs or downloads, go on holiday or be well on the way to getting a car for the same amount
- smoking can cause impotence
- smoking makes your hair, breath and clothes smell and can make your teeth and skin yellow
Even breathing other people’s smoke (passive smoking) can affect your health leading to serious diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease. That’s one reason why the ban on smoking in public places is so important.
Tips on giving up
There’s a whole range of support available (see below for helpful links) and products like gum, patches and hypnosis but the most important thing is willpower — you’ve got to want to stop. To help do this:
- tell yourself why you want to give up and write it down (or send it to yourself in a text or email) — look at this regularly and remember what first motivated you to quit
- set your stop date and stick to it
- steer clear of smoky situations — this is easier with the public ban after 1 July 2007
- think positive — every day you go without smoking, you’re beating the addiction
- treat yourself (healthily!) with some of the money you’re saving
- don’t do it alone — link up with a mate who also wants to quit and encourage each other, and remember to ask for your family’s support too
- don’t give up trying to quit — if you don’t succeed first time, start again
Help with giving up
- The NHS Smoking Helpline 0800 022 4 332 is open from 9am to 8pm on weekdays and 11am to 5pm at weekends — talk to someone who can give you expert advice and encouragement.
- Local NHS Stop Smoking Service — the NHS offers free local support that really works. One in two people who use their local NHS Stop Smoking Service are not smoking four weeks later. Help can be in group sessions or one-to-one. You can find about local services on the NHS Choices Smokefree website — enter your postcode to find out what is available — or you can chat to an adviser online.
- There’s also loads of help, support and information (health timeline showing how quickly your health starts to improve... addiction test... apps and widgets and more) on the Quit Smoking Tools part of the Smokefree website.
- Have a look at the QUIT website at www.quit.org.uk, or ring their helpline on 0800 00 22 00. They also have a young people’s QUIT BECAUSE website at www.quitbecause.org.uk
Finding out more about smoking
Page last updated 19 November 2012