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The consequences of smoking

It goes without saying that smoking is bad for your health. Smokers lose an average of 16 years of life through smoking related illness and disease combined.

Smoking kills more people in the UK every year than road accidents, drug and alcohol related deaths and suicide combined.

The facts are that:

Smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases

These include coronary heart disease and stroke. The carbon monoxide from cigarettes contributes towards heart disease and makes you more breathless.

Overall, about a quarter (25%) of all cancer deaths are linked to smoking

Smoking causes over 8 out of 10 cases (80%) of lung cancer in the UK and can also increase your risk of cancer of the mouth, nose and sinuses, voice box, food pipe, stomach, pancreas, bladder, lived, cervix, kidney, ovary, bowel and acute myeloid leukaemia.

Smoking is the major cause of lung disease

Lung disease causes one-fifth of the UK's annual smoking-related deaths. Lung disease covers a group of conditions (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema) that damage the lungs, blocking the passage of air in and out, and making it difficult to breathe. Smokers are over 10 times as likely to die from lung disease as those who have never smoked.

Smoking in pregnancy can significantly affect your and your baby’s health

When you’re pregnant, the nicotine, carbon monoxide and chemicals from your cigarettes pass straight into your blood and through the placenta to your baby.  

For you, this means:

  • A bigger risk of miscarriage
  • More chance of a premature delivery
  • A higher risk of stillbirth
  • Risk of placental abruption

For your baby:

  • The reduced oxygen supply can really affect your baby’s growth and development
  • After you’ve had a cigarette, your baby’s heart rate is increased for 20 minutes
  • Smoking can lower the birth weight – on average, by 200grams (7oz)
  • Smoking also damages the fetal airways.

The risks of secondhand smoke to children are significant

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections. Children who grow up in a smoking household are 90% more likely to become smokers themselves. AND, 73% of children worry that their mum or dad will die because they smoke.

Call our free Stop Smoking hotline on 0800 470 4831
Text 'QUIT' to 60060 or email us at