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 Content Editor

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for more than 80,000 deaths each year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.

In our adult years the lifestyle choices we make can dramatically increase our chances of becoming ill. Making changes can improve your health straight away and considerably increase your chances of staying healthy. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term.

The benefits of quitting

After 20 minutes – blood pressure and pulse go back to normal. Circulation improves, especially in your hands and feet.

After eight hours – nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood are reduced. Oxygen levels return to normal.

After 24 hours – carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Your lungs start to clear out mucus and debris.

After 48 hours – your body is now nicotine-free. Your sense of taste and smell will have improved.

After 72 hours – your breathing is easier and you have more energy.

After two to 12 months – circulation is improved throughout your body. It is easier for you to walk and exercise.

After three to nine months – coughs, wheezing and breathing improves. Your lung capacity can improve by five to 10 per cent.

After five years – you now have about the same chance of having a stroke as a non-smoker.

After 10 years – the chance of getting lung cancer is half that of a smoker and your chance of having a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

Other benefits of quitting smoking
  • Boosted immune system
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels
  • Slowed facial ageing and delayed appearance of wrinkles
  • Financially better off
  • Health of family and friends protected from second-hand smoke
Some of the risks of continuing to smoke
Heart attack or stroke
When you smoke, the poisons from your cigarettes enter your blood. These poisons then:
  • Make your blood thicker and increase chances of blood clots
  • Increase your blood pressure and heart rate, making your heart work harder than normal
  • Narrow your arteries, reducing the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating to your organs
Smoking doubles your risk of having a heart attack, and if you smoke you have twice the risk of dying from coronary heart disease than lifetime non-smokers.

Smoking increases your risk of having a stroke by at least 50 per cent, which can cause brain damage and death. And, by smoking, you double your risk of dying from a stroke.

Lung problems
Your lungs can be very badly affected by smoking. Coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma are just the start. Smoking can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Smoking causes 84 per cent of deaths from lung cancer and 83 per cent of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Stomach ulcers
Smoking can weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of your gullet (oesophagus) and allow acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction back up your gullet, a process known as reflux.
Skin problems
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your skin. This means that if you smoke, your skin ages more quickly and looks grey and dull. The toxins in your body also cause cellulite.

Reproduction and fertility
Smoking can cause male impotence. It can also damage sperm, reduce sperm count and cause testicular cancer. Up to 120,000 men from the UK in their 20s and 30s are impotent as a direct result of smoking, and men who smoke have a lower sperm count than those who are non-smokers.

For women, smoking can reduce fertility and smokers are more than three times more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive. 

How can we help you?
You may have thought about stopping smoking many times before or may have had several attempts. There's no time like the present to make changes to improve your health immediately. 

We know you are four times more likely to quit long-term if you use stop smoking medications alongside accessing specialist support.

When you access services within our Trust many of our staff will provide 'Very Brief Advice' in relation to smoking. This is also known as the 3A's and provides the opportunity to:

ASK if you are a smoker
ADVISE regarding our smokefree policy and support options available and
ACT by arranging further support

Mental health in-patient services
Lots of staff are trained to provide smokefree support as we are now a Smokefree organisation and smoking is prohibited across all our sites. Within the first 30 minutes of arrival onto a ward, patients who smoke will be offered the choice of either Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or E-burn disposable electronic cigarettes. Within 72 hours of admission a smokefree assessment is undertaken to make sure patients receive the support they require during their in-patient stay.

Mental health community services
There are a number of staff specifically trained to provide one to one or group support. Please ask a staff member if you would like support to cut down or quit smoking and they can advise if this is available in your area.

It's about choosing the best support for you. In addition to your pharmacy or GP practice, here are your local stop smoking services:
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