Stop smoking

Reasons to stop

There are many physical and mental health benefits to stopping smoking as well as saving money.

Research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke.

Stopping smoking

Top reasons to stop smoking

Smoking is linked to the leading causes of death and illness in Britain today.

Smoking is linked to 50 different illnesses and is responsible for the death of 76,000 people a year.

Like many people, you may have tried to stop smoking many times. Don’t quit quitting.


You will be more likely to live longer and stay well

Your risk of cancer will fall

Smokers are more likely to suffer from cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease

50% of smokers will die prematurely of a disease caused by their smoking, losing an average of 8 years of life

Positive mood improves and depression, anxiety and stress levels are lowered

Stopping smoking will improve your health no matter how long you have smoked and how many cigarettes you have smoked

You will set a better example to children and make it less likely that they take up smoking themselves

When pregnant, you will have a better chance of having a healthy baby if neither you or your partner smoke

You will no longer create secondhand smoke which is unpleasant and causes a risk of smoking-related diseases to others

Smokers are at greater risk of osteoporosis; (which makes bones fragile and more likely to break) male infertility; (the inability to get and maintain an erection) gum disease and the eye condition, cataracts

You will not be contributing to the environmental impact of tobacco growing and litter. It takes up to 10 years for a cigarette butt to biodegrade

Your fitness and breathing will improve, helping you feel better when being active

Smoking costs the NHS £1.6 billion and social care £1.2 billion each year

Younger smokers are more likely to suffer heart attacks. for smokers under 50 years old, the risk of a heart attack is five times more likely than for non-smokers.

What happens when you stop smoking

Stopping smoking will make a big difference to your health.

  • After 20 mins. Pulse rate will already be starting to return to normal.
  • After 8 hours. Oxygen levels will be recovering and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will be reduced by half.
  • After 48 hours. All carbon monoxide is flushed out and the lungs are clearing out mucus. Sense of smell and taste begin to improve.
  • After 72 hours. Breathing will feel easier. The bronchial tubes have started to relax, and energy will be increasing.
  • After 2-12 weeks. Blood will be pumping through the heart and muscles much better because circulation has improved.
  • After 3-9 months. Any coughs, wheezing, or breathing problems will improve as lung function increases by up to 10 %.
  • After 1 year. The risk of heart attack will have halved compared to a smoker.
  • After 10 years. The risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker.
man breathing air outside
man holding sterling notes

How much money does smoking cost you?

Smoking is a drain on your bank balance and quitting will mean you have more money in your pocket.

The average 10-a-day smoker spends around £40 a week, that’s over £2000 a year!

You could find that you pay less for insurance.

Your better health because of quitting will mean less time off work too, which could have an impact on your income, especially if you are self-employed or working a 0-hour contract.

Use the NHS calculator to see how much you are spending and how much you have spent on smoking.

Stop smoking when pregnant

Stopping smoking is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your baby. Smoking when pregnant…

  • There is no safe amount of smoking when pregnant
  • Reduces birth weight
  • Increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Can cause premature birth
  • Carbon monoxide impacts how a baby grows and develops
  • Smoking while pregnant makes long-term health problems more likely
  • Up to 5000, miscarriages a year and 2,200 premature births a year
  • The money you save on cigarettes can be spent on your baby
  • Higher risk of stillbirth
  • More risk of cleft lip/palate.
  • Linked to ADHD.
  • Linked to psychological problems in childhood, disruptive behaviour, and poor educational performance.
  • Babies are more likely to suffer from infections in the airways and ears.
Pregnant lady holding her belly

If you are pregnant or planning to have children, a Feel Good Suffolk advisor has all the essential tools available to help you kick the habit.

If you are planning to conceive, quitting smoking will increase your fertility, make your labour easier and ensure your baby is born at a healthy weight.

If members of your household smoke, secondhand smoke is a risk to your unborn baby. Help is available to help them quit too.

Smoke free families & second hand smoke

Passive smoking

Secondhand smoke still packs a punch.

  • There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). The effects are immediate.
  • Harmful inflammatory and respiratory effects within an hour and lasts at least 3 hours after exposure.
  • It is responsible in adults for coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and premature death.
  • Most of the smoke from a cigarette goes into the air and not into the lungs of the smoker.

Did you know?

  • Most of the smoke from a cigarette is invisible and odourless.
  • There is even 3rd hand smoke, these are the harmful chemicals from a cigarette that build up on furniture.
  • Smoke can linger in the house for up to 5 hours – smoking in one room only or out of the window is not a protection for your family.
  • The smoke contains 4000, toxins, irritants, and cancer-causing substances.

Smoking parents

  • Children of smoking parents are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia in their first year.
  • Kids have a higher risk of developing meningitis, allergies, and asthma.
  • It is illegal to smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18.
  • Do not forget your pets. Any pet, dog, cat, birds, guinea pigs and even fish can all be impacted by second hand smoke.
  • Increase vet bills and emotional distress to the family.
smoking in a car with a child
woman inhaling smoke from a man smoking
young boy using an inhaler
graphic of the brain in pink and blue

The science behind nicotine addiction

Nicotine is a mind-altering drug.

  • It affects the brain in several different ways and changes it over the long term.
  • It increases the production of neurotransmitters that affect brain functions.
  • It causes the release of noradrenaline which stimulates the brain and produces a slight buzz.
  • It is thought to improve focus by increasing acetylcholine.
  • It increases beta-endorphin production which relieves anxiety, giving nicotine some calming effects as well as stimulating effects.
  • It also has long-term effects on the dopamine system, which is involved in reward, mood, and addiction.
  • Smokers are more stressed over the day than non-smokers because of their nicotine dependency and the relaxation a cigarette gives is a temporary relief from that increased stress.
  • After a cigarette people who are addicted will begin the cycle of gradually worsening mood, increased irritability, and rising craving, until the next cigarette.
  • Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs.
    Nicotine excites the brain’s reward circuitry, making them ‘moreish.’
  • In the long term, the brain re-tunes itself to having its chemistry altered and the effect of going too long without nicotine becomes increasingly punishing.
  • Social and cultural factors can also make it easy to become a smoker and hard to quit.
  • If you have smokers in your family or circle of friends you are more likely to become addicted yourself, which has an impact if you are trying to quit.
  • Nicotine withdrawal can be very unpleasant, but it is not physically harmful.

Myth busting

  • Smoking reduces stress.
  • Nicotine does make you relax, but nicotine addiction causes stress and worsening mood the longer it has been since the last cigarette, in fact, a smoker suffers more stress than a non-smoker.
  • Occasional or social smoking is harmless. It is far less harmful than heavy smoking, but any amount of smoking increases the risk of suffering from a huge range of diseases, many of them fatal.
  • Occasional smoking is more likely to end in regular smoking. Many smokers started this way. They thought they were in control until they were not.
  • Nicotine itself is harmless, it is the smoke that causes the damage. Although there are lots of toxic and damaging chemicals in the smoke it is important not to discount nicotine.
  • Nicotine has harmful effects on blood vessels and its many effects on the brain, including addiction, can negatively affect your mood and could alter your behaviour towards other addictive substances or activities.

Need help to stop smoking? Get support local to you

Feel Good Suffolk Advisors are there to offer support and advice on stopping smoking, healthy weight and being more active. They will tell you about the services available, tell you about what other options there are in your local area and community and guide you through on-line self-help.

They can also advise you on the eligibility criteria for more intensive levels of support around managing a healthy weight, stopping smoking and being more active.