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Health Promotion:

Quit Smoking!

Stop smoking is probably the single most effective health intervention you (as a smoker) can make.

Lung capacity improves by up to 10% within 9 months of quitting and so most people breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking. (You may not even notice your breathing or how much you cough - others do though!)

When you are young you won't notice the loss of lung capacity caused you your smoking but as you get older you depend upon your reserves and will reach a point where you have reduced your lung capacity to the level that even a short run for a bus will have you coughing and panting.

In later years, loss of lung capacity can make the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing and being restricted in normal life.

Within 2 to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, your blood circulation improves. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier. Most smokers report much more energy once they've quit.

You'll also give a boost to your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu. The increase in oxygen in the body can also reduce tiredness and the likelihood of headaches.

Stopping smoking can reduce their stress levels, strange though you may think!.

After you have a smoke, the nicotine starts to reduce and you get a withdrawal effect driving you to smoke your next cigarette. This withdrawal from nicotine between cigarettes can heighten feelings of stress.

As the stress of withdrawal feels the same as other stresses, it's easy to confuse normal stress with nicotine withdrawal, so it can seem like smoking is reducing other stresses. But this is not the case. In fact, scientific studies show people's stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.

If you find that you're prone to stress, smoking is certainly not the answer! Replacing smoking with a healthier, better way of dealing with stress can give you some real benefits.

Stopping smoking improves the body's blood flow, so improves sensitivity.

Men who stop smoking may get better erections. Women may find their orgasms improve and they become aroused more easily.

It's also been found that non-smokers are 3 times more appealing to prospective partners than smokers.

Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and can make men's sperm more potent. Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF and reduces the likelihood of having a miscarriage.

Most importantly, it improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.

When you stop smoking, your senses of smell and taste get a boost.

You are likely to find that food tastes and smells different as your mouth and nose recover from being dulled by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes. You'll suddenly notice the smell of flowers and perfumes are richer and more vibrant. There's a whole new world waiting for rediscovery!


Your will smell fresher and more appealing when you stop smoking. People will no longer edge away, trying to avoid being too close.

You may not realise that you smell like a old ash-tray. No matter how clean you are, your clothes smell, your car smells, your house smells. Your sense of smell is dulled by all those nasty toxins in the cigarettes but others notice and that's why dating sites commonly state "must be non-smoker". Your friends and family may be too polite to mention but to a non-smoker, you smell bad. And when you leave the room, an unpleasant reminder stays behind in the air.

Look younger, fresher and slow down the effects of ageing!

The toxins in cigarette smoke and the effects on the blood vessels cause changes in the skin and wrinkles with thickened, dull, leathery, sallow skin are characteristics of years of smoking. Even looking at photos, people can tell who the smokers are. Smokers look old before their time.

Stopping smoking slows this ageing effect and so you can look younger, longer!

Giving up tobacco stops teeth becoming stained, and you'll have fresher breath and you'll be less likely to lose your teeth prematurely.

Smokers are more likely than smokers to get gum disease and prematurely lose their teeth due to gingivitis. Smoking reduces your immunity and ability to fight off infections such as the causes of gingivitis. Also the signs of gingivitis may be masked by the reduced blood supply to the gums.

Men who quit by the age of 30 add 10 years to their lives! Even at age 60 your can add 3 years, so it's never too late to give up, though the sooner the better really!

The major killers are of course well known: premature heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis (COPD) but there are around 16 cancers related to smoking and many other potentially fatal diseases such as stroke, aortic aneurysms, diabetes, kidney failure, ectopic pregnancy, TB, Alzheimers…and so the list goes on.

By stopping smoking, you'll be protecting the health of your non-smoking friends and family, too.

Breathing in secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.

In children, it doubles the risk of getting chest illnesses, including pneumonia, ear infections, wheezing and asthma.

They also have 3 times the risk of getting lung cancer in later life compared with children who live with non-smokers.

Read more about the dangers of passive smoking.

Also you set an example to your children and your children are more likely to end up smokers themselves.

Try this calculator to see how much you will save when you stop smoking

On average if you smoke 20 a day you will save £128 a month, £1,500 a year when you stop. That's a healthy pay rise!

You may also save on your insurances - lie insurance, health insurance, travel insurance, dry cleaning, household products, car valeting, dental treatments, medical bills and so on.

Lung capacity improves by up to 10% within 9 months of quitting and so most people breathe more easily and cough less when they give up smoking. (You may not even notice your breathing or how much you cough - others do though!)

When you are young you won't notice the loss of lung capacity caused you your smoking but as you get older you depend upon your reserves and will reach a point where you have reduced your lung capacity to the level that even a short run for a bus will have you coughing and panting.

In later years, loss of lung capacity can make the difference between having an active, healthy old age and wheezing and being restricted in normal life.



The Brent Smoking Cessation programme is currently restricted, though we offer support to help you quit including prescriptions for free patches, inhalators, pills and gum and we can measure your carbon monoxide level.

Everyone (even 60 a day for 40 years) can stop if they choose, though some do find it easier than others. You will start to notice the benefits very soon and your health benefits from day one.

Changing to vaping may help (though there are concerns about some of the products long term but it's probably safer than smoking).

Having support and aids is very useful. Please ask at reception or talk to your doctor or nurse. Local pharmacies are also a good resource.

Here are some good resources to inform you and help you choose how and when to do it:

Smokefree - the NHS dedicated website with lots of advice and on-line aids. telephone helpline 0800 022 4 332 Mon to Fri 9am to 8pm, Sat and Sun 11am to 5pm
NHS.UK Stopping Smoking - a useful overview on the benefits and ways of achieving success.
StopSmokingLondon has some useful tips for smokers and their suffering friends and families.
Smokefree.gov - has online chat plus a lot of targeted advice for men, women, young people, older people, contacts of smokers etc

Is vaping a safe aid to giving up?

There have been a small number of deaths reported from the use of e-cigarettes but it is not clear what the reason for this is. The numbers have been minuscule compared with tobacco use - where 140 people die each day in the UK from smoking related causes. There are so many different varieties of e-cigarettes, with many different ingredients so it will be some time before the facts are established.

The Royal College of GPs and Cancer Research UK says:

"There is a lot of confusion about the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes.

Since they are a new technology, we don’t yet know the long-term impact of e-cigarette use, and it’s not recommended that non-smokers use them. But there is growing evidence that they can be an effective quitting tool. Research shows that e-cigarettes:
  • are actually far less harmful than smoking
  • can help people quit, especially those who have tried and failed to quit previously
  • and their safety profile is more comparable to that of other NRT products than tobacco
With this in mind, NICE guidance recommends that e-cigarettes should be discussed as an option for smoking cessation and patients are advised that they need to switch completely rather than becoming ‘dual users’ – using e-cigarettes and smoking."
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