Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999.
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Why you should avoid smoking

Smoking damages the heart and the circulation of blood around the body, increasing the risk of heart disease or having a heart attack.

Smoking can also make you feel more out of breath when you exercise, you’re more at risk of getting coughs and colds too. Smoking increases the risk of getting cancer, particularly lung cancer.

Can’t smokers just stop?

Lots of people who smoke say they would like to stop. The trouble is, cigarettes contain a drug called nicotine, which is addictive: it means you want more and more.

When someone smokes, the nicotine goes into their brain and makes them feel relaxed. When they stop smoking, their brain starts to miss the nicotine and after a while they feel that they would really like to smoke again. If they don’t smoke, they feel stressed and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to stop.

Brain Borg
Did You Know?
Brain borg There are 4,500 chemicals in tobacco smoke – many of which are very bad for your health and can make you ill.

Is it best not to start smoking?

Yes – there are lots of other reasons why it is best not to start smoking.

  • Smoking makes your breath smell, not to mention your clothes and your fingers. Yuck!
  • Smoking is really expensive. Buying a packet of cigarettes a day adds up to more than £70 a week!
  • Smokers don’t have as much energy for playing games and sport
  • You are not allowed to smoke in public places like shops, libraries and restaurants; if people want to smoke, they have to go outside- even if it is pouring with rain!
  • Smoking at home is bad for your family and pets
  • Most people don’t smoke and don’t like people smoking near them

Passive smoking

If you live with people who smoke around you a lot, you could be at risk of developing the same diseases that smokers can get when you are older. Breathing other people’s smoke is called passive smoking.

Breathing other people’s smoke can make you cough or wheeze, and if you have asthma it can make breathing very difficult. It can also give you a headache or make you feel sick.

Some adults think that if they smoke out of a window in the house or car, it protects other people from their smoke. They are wrong. Some of the smoke always comes back in.

Getting help to stop smoking

The ‘Stop Smoking Service’ is there to help people give up if they want to. If you know someone who wants to stop smoking, tell them to phone up and a special advisor will help them.

Riddle me this!

How old do you have to be to buy cigarettes?
Quiz girl
Quiz girl
Quiz girl
If you know someone who wants to stop smoking, they can contact the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

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Page last reviewed: 13-10-2021

Next review due: 13-10-2024