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The harms of smoking

Smoking causes chronic health problems, such as:

  • Cancer (lung, mouth, kidney, stomach and more)
  • Strokes and heart disease
  • Breathing problems e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Mouth, stomach, and bowel problems
  • Male impotence and fertility issues
  • Weak bones
  • Ageing skin and bad breath
  • Premature death
  • Adverse on other people

Benefits of stopping

  • Reduction in smoking related diseases, ill health, and death
  • Reduction in smoking related diseases in others
  • Reduction in harm to children and pregnancies
  • Reduction in the risk of children in the family themselves starting to smoke
  • Save money

How quickly you may benefit after quitting

  • 20 minutes: pulse returns to normal
  • 8 hours: blood oxygen levels return to normal, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels halve
  • 48 hours: lung start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. No more nicotine in the body
  • 2-12 weeks: circulation improves
  • 1 year: risk of heart disease halves compared to smoker
  • 10 years: risk of lung cancer half that of a smoker
  • 15 years: risk of heart attack same as someone who has never smoked

Advice on how to stop

  • Prepare mentally
  • Try to stop with someone else, involve friends and family
  • Avoid relapses
  • Set targets and rewards for completing them
  • Try again if relapse

"You are four times more likely to stop smoking with the support of a smoking cessation service and stop smoking medicines than by willpower alone"


Using a combination of stop-smoking treatments and support is found to be the most effective way of stopping.


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