WHY YOU SHOULD QUIT SMOKING

Quitting smoking will make you healthier and wealthier.

What could you save?

When buying tobacco regularly you might not realise the cost. People who quit typically save around £250 each month. Find out how much you could save.



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Talk to a trained adviser

on the Greater Manchester Stop Smoking Helpline: 0300 123 1044

Or find help to quit near you

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What happens to your body when you quit?

20 mins

Twenty minutes after your last cigarette your heart rate returns to normal.

8 hours

Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.

2 days

Carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. Your ability to taste and smell is improved.

3 days

Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

2 weeks

Your circulation starts to improve.

1 month

Smoking-related symptoms, such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath with exercise, decrease. Fibres in your lungs that can help reduce excess mucus and protect against bacterial infections are growing back.

3 months

Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.

1 year

Your risk of heart disease is about half that of a person who still smokes.

5 years

Your chances of a stroke and cervical cancer are now the same as a non-smoker. Compared to when you first quit, you’re half as likely to get mouth, throat or bladder cancer.

10 years

Your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

15 years

Your risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Reasons to stop smoking

When it comes to smoking, the figures are stark: one in two smokers will eventually die from a smoking-related illness. It’s well known that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but many people don’t realise that smoking can also cause at least fifteen other cancers. Smoking also raises your risk of other potentially deadly conditions, including heart attacks, stroke, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Smoking impacts on many areas of your health, including some surprising ones. For example, did you know that smoking can impair both your hearing and your vision? Smoking negatively impacts almost every part of your body. Quitting will allow you to breathe easier, make your blood less ‘sticky’ (decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke), improve your oral health and make your skin look brighter.

Smoking also impairs your body’s immune system, meaning that you’re more likely to get sick and stay poorly for longer. Because smoking changes your blood composition, it also means it takes longer for wounds to heal and increases the risk of infection. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you stop smoking before having an operation. Find out more about quitting smoking if you’re going into hospital.

Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke that comes from a cigarette and smoke breathed out by a smoker. It is dangerous to anyone who breathes it in, including children and pets. It can stay in the air for several hours after somebody smokes. Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can be harmful.

Being exposed to secondhand smoke raises a non-smoker’s risk of cancer and heart disease. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections and are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke also triggers asthma, causing more frequent and severe attacks in those who have the illness.

Pets are also affected - cats and dogs who live in a home with someone who smokes are twice as likely to develop cancer.

Find out more about the impact smoking has on your family.

Smoking during pregnancy causes significant harm to your unborn baby. Find out more about smoking during pregnancy and the support you can access to help you quit.

Being exposed to secondhand smoke raises a non-smoker’s risk of cancer and heart disease. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections and are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke also triggers asthma, causing more frequent and severe attacks in those who have the illness.

The average smoker smokes around eleven cigarettes a day – at current UK prices that means you’ll be sending around £40 a week, or over £2,000, a year up in smoke. Even if you smoke less or buy cheaper tobacco products you’ll still make significant savings by quitting. Many ex-smokers find they can motivate themselves to quit and stay quit by deciding how they’ll spend the money they save.

Find out how much you could save by quitting smoking with our smokefree calculator.

Many smokers think that smoking helps them deal with stress and anxiety. But in fact the opposite is true – smoking increases the stress and anxiety that you feel. Whilst the nicotine in cigarettes creates an immediate sense of relaxation, this is short-lived and quickly leads to anxiety as the body craves another cigarette.

Smoking reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to the symptoms of anxiety and stress, but it does not reduce stress or deal with the underlying causes. In fact, scientific studies show people's stress levels are lower after they stop smoking.

Find out more about the negative impact that smoking can have on your mental health.

Grey and wrinkly skin, yellow teeth, bad breath, stained fingers and the lingering smell of stale smoke…the impact that smoking has on your appearance isn’t pretty! For these reasons, as well as the negative health impacts, many non-smokers say that they would not want a partner who smokes. Smoking can also have a negative impact on your sex life, causing impotence and fertility problems.

The single most littered item in the UK is cigarette butts. They contain plastics and are not biodegradable. Instead they can break into smaller pieces of micro-plastics and pass the harmful chemicals they contain into their surroundings.

But the environmental impact of smoking is much greater than the litter it causes. Growing and processing tobacco causes large-scale deforestation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, often in developing countries that do not have the same regulations to protect the environment.

The tobacco industry makes billions of pounds of profit from selling its deadly and highly addictive products across the world. In the UK, tobacco companies are now subject to strict controls, which ban advertising of tobacco products. But in every country where these controls are not in place, they continue to spend millions persuading new generations to start smoking.

Tobacco industry documents show that they knew about the harmful nature of their products for decades before health warnings started appearing – but covered up this knowledge and may have continually sought to downplay the health harms associated with smoking.

Tobacco companies also genetically engineered tobacco crops to make cigarettes more addictive.

And the industry widely uses child labour to grow and harvest tobacco, depriving them of a childhood and exposing them to harmful chemicals from a young age.

Find out more about the deadly impact of the tobacco industry.

Ways to quit

Stop smoking aids and support can help you to quit.

With support

Smokers who quit with support from other people, whether trained advisers or family and friends, are more likely to quit successfully.

Find out more

Going it alone

Even if you choose not to ask others for support, stop smoking aids can help you deal with cravings when you quit.

Find out more