Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death, accounting for approximately 74,600 deaths a year in England. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and dramatically reduces both quality of life and life expectancy. Smoking causes lung cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease as well as numerous cancers in other organs including the lip, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, stomach, liver and cervix.
It is estimated that the global yearly death toll as a result of tobacco use is currently 7 million (including exposure to second hand smoke). On current smoking trends this is expected to rise to around 10 million a year by 2030. It is predicted that by the end of the 21st century, tobacco will have killed one billion people within the century.
For every death caused by smoking, approximately 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking related disease. In England it is estimated that in 2019-20, among adults aged 35 and over, around 506,100 NHS hospital admissions were attributable to smoking, accounting for 4% of all hospital admissions in this age group. The cost of smoking to the National Health Service in England is estimated to be £2.5 billion a year.
Deaths caused by smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the UK. About half of all life-long smokers will die prematurely, losing on average about 10 years of life. Smoking kills more people each year than the following preventable causes of death combined.
Most smoking-related deaths arise from one of three types of disease: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD which incorporates emphysema and chronic bronchitis) and coronary heart disease (CHD). In 2019, 15% (74,600) of all deaths of adults aged 35 and over in England were estimated to be attributable to smoking.
Of these smoking caused:
- 35,500 (52%) of all cancer deaths
- 23,700 (35%) of all respiratory deaths
- 14,700 (13%) of all circulatory disease deaths
How do I quit smoking?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to quit smoking, one of the best choices you can make for your health. Right after you take that last puff, your body will start to recover. Carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop. In less than a week, it’ll be easier to breathe.
How Hard Will It Be to Quit?
Everyone is different, and how tough it will be for you depend on:
- How many cigarettes you smoke a day
- If your friends and family members smoke
- Why you smoke
What does the NHS say about quitting smoking?
Local stop smoking services are free, friendly and can massively boost your chances of quitting for good.
These services staffed by expert advisers provide a range of proven methods to help you quit.
They’ll give you accurate information and advice, as well as professional support, during the first few months you stop smoking.
How to contact a stop smoking adviser
Your GP, pharmacist or health visitor can refer you, or you can phone your local stop smoking service to make an appointment with an adviser.
Find your local Stop Smoking Service
There’s a free local Stop Smoking Service near you. With their professional help, you’re 3 times as likely to quit for good.
Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking
In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK.
Also known as vapes or e-cigs, they’re far less harmful than cigarettes, and can help you quit smoking for good.
They are not recommended for non-smokers and cannot be sold to people under 18 years old.
Will vaping help me stop smoking?
Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. There’s evidence that they can be effective.
A 2021 review found people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, as well as having expert face-to-face support, can be up to twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.
How safe are e-cigarettes?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
Vaping is not completely risk-free, but it poses a small fraction of the risk of smoking cigarettes. The long-term risks of vaping are not yet clear.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
What are the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping?
Vaping is far less harmful than smoking. So, your health could benefit from switching. But you need to stop using tobacco completely to get the benefits.
E-cigarettes can help people stop smoking and are a popular stop smoking tool. They can give people who smoke the nicotine hit they need to help beat their cravings. Vaping can also feel similar to smoking, like holding a cigarette and breathing in. For the best chance of stopping smoking for good, get advice from your local stop smoking service, GP or pharmacist.
Switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes could save you a lot of money. Some people spend more than others, but in general, vaping costs less than half as much as smoking.
Is nicotine harmful?
Nicotine is the chemical that makes cigarettes addictive. But it is not responsible for the harmful effects of smoking. Nicotine does not cause cancer, and people have used nicotine replacement therapy safely for many years. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is safe enough to be prescribed by doctors.
Did you know that giving up cigarettes can also help your mental health?
Scientists have found that quitting smoking improves symptoms of some mental health conditions, including depression. People find that their mood improves after they quit smoking. They also have a more positive outlook.
People with mental illness are more likely to smoke than people who don’t have the same concerns. Sometimes, they would like to quit but worry that giving up smoking will make it harder for them to treat their mental illness.
Research has found that smokers can quit without affecting their treatment for mental illness. Keep in mind that the chemicals in cigarettes make some medications less effective. As a result, some people are able to reduce their doses once they stop smoking.
6 more reasons to quit smoking
- For Your Finances
All the money that you spend on cigarettes goes up in smoke. Just think what you could do with it if it were back in your bank account.
The total? That depends on your habits. By some estimates, if you smoke a pack a day, you could spend £100,000 or more on cigarettes and lighters.
When you quit, your budget gets a break.
- To Smell Better
If you quit, you (and your home, clothes, and car) would no longer have that ashtray smell. Your own sense of smell would get a boost, too.
Smoking dulls your senses, especially smell and taste.
Some smokers realize that foods don’t taste the way they used to. But because it doesn’t happen all at once, it can be hard to notice.
- Smoother Skin
Skin changes, like a leathery texture and deep wrinkling, are more likely in people who are regular smokers.
- A Better Social Life
If you feel embarrassed that you smoke, you may hold yourself back socially.
Plus, if you’re dating, you’ve probably noticed that smoking is a turnoff for a lot of people, which limits your romantic options.
- Fewer Infections
Smoking also makes you more vulnerable to seasonal flus and colds.
Tiny hairs called cilia that line the respiratory tract, including the trachea and bronchial tubes, help protect you.
But one of the toxic effects of cigarette smoke is that it paralyzes the cilia, which erases that protection. That’s why smokers have so many more infections.
Within a month of quitting, your cilia start doing their protective role once again.
- Your Fittest Self
After you quit, it should get easier to do simple things like climbing a set of stairs. You could get back to sports or activities you once loved or always wanted to try.
Are cigarettes really that hard to quit?
Your brain has to get used to not having nicotine around. Nicotine is the main addictive drug in tobacco that makes quitting so hard. Cigarettes are designed to rapidly deliver nicotine to your brain. Inside your brain, nicotine triggers the release of chemicals that make you feel good.
The good news is by quitting using e-cigarettes / disposable vapes you can switch to a safer nicotine delivery device without all the deadly chemicals tobacco contains.
Does nicotine cause cancer?
No, nicotine does not cause cancer. Poisons found in cigarettes, like arsenic, formaldehyde, and many more, cause cancer. Smokeless tobacco, like chew, also contains many cancer-causing chemicals.
Like any other addiction the most effective way of quitting is by tapering down the addictive substance which in the case of smoking is nicotine.
E-cigarettes are considered 95% safer than tobacco smoke, making it easier to slowly quit smoking without suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Over time you can reduce the nicotine content at your own pace, there is no time limit and you can continue your daily smoking rituals until you are ready to quit altogether.
Vaping can deliver the nicotine your brain craves without any of the smoking related diseases.
This is where we can help, not just by selling vapes but offering advice if needed, especially if you are new to vaping.