Some facts about smoking

In addition to the information below you may wish to check out the smoking facts listed on the British Lung Foundation and NHS sites.

Key Facts 

  • Smoking causes around 100,000 deaths per year in the UK. Smoking-related deaths are mainly due to cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease.
  • About half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases.
  • Non smokers do get lung cancer but the odds are tiny – less than 1 in 100 risk for someone who has never smoked compared with an almost 1 in 6 chance for someone who continues to smoke. If diagnosed with lung cancer, more than 9 out of 10 will not be alive 5 years later.
  • If you are a long-term smoker, on average, your life expectancy is about 10 years less than a non-smoker. Put another way, in the UK about 8 in 10 non-smokers live past the age of 70, but only about half of long-term smokers live past 70. The younger you are when you start smoking, the more likely you are to smoke for longer and to die early from smoking.
  • Many smoking-related deaths are not quick deaths. For example, if you develop COPD you can expect several years of illness and distressing symptoms before you die.
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing a number of other diseases. Many of these may not be fatal, but they can cause years of unpleasant symptoms.
  • Smoking weakens your immune system.
  • Smokers in their 30s and 40s are 5 times more likely to have heart attacks than non-smokers.
  • Nicotine acts as a cough suppressant (which is why smokers often cough up the crap in their lungs for a while when they stop)
  • Nicotine reduces the absorption of caffeine by 50% (so beware of drinking the amount of coffee that you normally drink as it can make you hyperactive and edgy and make it more difficult to stop)

Costs and savings

When hard earned money is literally going up in smoke, it is worth reflecting again just how expensive smoking is. Let assume £10.00 for a packet of 20 on average and smoking a packet a day, this comes to £3650 a year and just think what you could do with that as a lump sum. But then consider that this comes to £365oo over 10 years , £73000 over 20 years as a smoker. But that is just at today’s prices. Add in the interest you would earn if you saved £3650 a year in an ISA or the difference it would make if this sum was offset against a mortgage, and you get a better feel for the true cost.

But when you stop…

  • Within 24 hours of stopping smoking, carbon monoxide will be expelled from your body and your lungs start to clear out the debris.
  • Within 48 hours nicotine will have left your system and your sense of smell and taste will start to improve…..
  • Within 2-12 weeks your circulation starts to improve…
  • Within 3-9 months breathing improves and lung function increases…
  • Within 1 year the risk of a heart attack falls to half that of a smoker…
  • Within 10 years the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker …

So stopping smoking can make a big difference to your health and it is never too late to stop smoking to benefit your health. For example, if you stop smoking in middle age, before having cancer or some other serious disease, you avoid most of the increased risk of death due to smoking.

Remember again just how many people have given up smoking. In 1972 just under half of adults in the UK were smokers. By 1990 this had fallen to just under a third. Today about less than one in six UK adults is a smoker. And all the millions of people around the world who stop smoking every year are not in anyway special: you are just as capable of stopping too.

For more information please see the following resources:

To find out more, call Gerry on 07976 701223 or mail

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