10 Facts About Smoking

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10 Facts About Smoking

Do you smoke and wish you didn't? Read this leaflet. Did you used to smoke and sometimes worry that you might again? Read this leaflet. The following 10 facts probably fall into the category of “things that you already know but tend to ignore” but with a little help you could move them into “things that you already know and want to do something about”. This leaflet of information from NHS sources could be the help that you need.

#1 Why did you start?

In order to stop it is helpful to understand the reasons for starting. All sorts of things can start people smoking:

  • Image – “It's cool to smoke!”

  • Peer pressure – “Everyone else is doing it.”

  • The nicotine rush – tobacco is a stimulant and gives you a buzz.

  • Tobacco advertising – see Image

Most people who smoke started young when consequences seemed a long way off. Picture the younger you, trying that first cigarette. What advice would you give? Why not take that advice now? It's never too late.

#2 Reduce your risk.

By becoming a non-smoker you are less likely to die of heart disease, cancer or stroke. Not smoking reduces the likelihood of impotence in men and miscarriage in women. An estimated 106,000 people die in the UK every year as a result of smoking (that's 12 per hour), by not smoking you can avoid being one of them.

#3 Are you hooked?

Just as you suck in the smoke, so the smoking sucks you in. Like cocaine and amphetamines, nicotine causes the release of the 'pleasure hormone' dopamine, but only for a couple of hours at most. That's why you need another cigarette. And another. And another. To begin with, it may feel as if the nicotine helps with stress, tension, boredom, etc. but after a while, all it really does is ward off your nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

#4 Family and friends.

The average cigarette contains 10mg of nicotine. Of this, you only absorb about 1-2mg, you put the rest into the atmosphere for everybody else. By giving up, those around you can avoid the effects of passive smoking AND you will be around longer for them to enjoy your company.

#5 What's in a cigarette?

As well as the nicotine, tobacco smoke contains around 4,000 other chemicals, including:

  • cyanide

  • carbon monoxide

  • arsenic

  • formaldehyde

  • benzene

In this sense, tobacco is more harmful than many illegal drugs. Just remember: every time you take a drag...

#6 Look younger.

Cigarette smoke ages you. By stopping smoking you can stop a process that causes dry and leathery skin, unnecessary wrinkles, poor circulation, reddened eyes, and stained teeth and fingers. Your sense of taste and smell will return too.

#7 Save cash.

If you're a pack-a-day smoker and your chosen brand costs £5.20 per pack, you'll spend almost £38,000 over the next 20 years. That amount of cash could keep you in cars for the next two decades, never mind cigarettes. Take a moment: how many do you smoke a day? How much do they cost you? What could you buy instead?

#8 You CAN give up.

Of course quitting can be difficult, but you can do it. First of all, it's a question of motivation. How badly do you want to give up? If the previous facts don't give you enough reason to throw away your lighter then try the next one.

#9 Giving up works.

The good news is that the evidence shows that whatever age you are and however long you have been smoking, your health will benefit from quitting. Your body begins to feel the benefits within just 20 minutes of stopping.

20 minutes

Blood pressure and pulse return to normal.

8 hours

Blood oxygen levels return to normal; chances of heart attack fall.

24 hours

Carbon monoxide leaves the body; lungs start to clear out mucus and debris.

48 hours

No nicotine left in the body; sense of taste and smell have greatly improved.

72 hours

Breathing becomes easier; energy levels increase.

2 - 12 weeks

Circulation improves and exercise becomes easier.

3 - 9 months

Lung efficiency is up by 5-10%.

5 years

There is now only have half the chance of getting a heart attack compared to a smoker.

10 years

The chance of lung cancer is now half that of a smoker. The chances of a heart attack are now the same as someone who has never smoked.

#10 Help is available.

If you're ready to give up smoking, you will find helpful advice on the following websites: