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Stubbing Out Smoking

Did you know that approximately 7.2 million people in the UK smoke? A truly shocking statistic that needs to be greatly reduced. Complications due to smoking is one of the biggest strains on the NHS today currently costing £2.5 billion pounds. In this week's article I take a look at six reasons why stopping smoking will be the best thing you will ever do. Don't get me wrong, it will probably be one of the hardest things you will have to do but it will be absolutely worth it. On average smoking takes the lives of 100,000 brits every year either through cancer or other smoking related illnesses. There is no best way to quit smoking. Everyone has different smoking patterns, habits, levels of addiction, and preferences. What works best for one person may have little impact on someone else.

There is no safe amount of cigarette smoke. When you smoke, the chemicals in tobacco reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale. Your blood carries the toxins to every organ in your body. But after you quit, your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. The nicotine leaves your body within three days. As your body starts to repair itself, you may feel worse instead of better.

Can Smoking Lead to Other Health Complications?

Smoking is lethal and even one cigarette a day is one too many. Smoking one cigarette every day increases the risk of a heart attack by 50%. Heavier smokers have an even higher risk. Any amount of smoking is harmful, and quitting is the only healthy option. Almost the entire body is affected by smoking, including the skin, brain, teeth, heart, pancreas, and lungs, leaving you susceptible to a myriad of chronic diseases, some you may not even associate with smoking, ranging from prostate cancer and lupus to Alzheimer’s, COPD and pulmonary hypertension. In three years after quitting smoking, your risk of a heart attack has decreased to that of a nonsmoker.

Environmental Effects of Smoking

Tobacco smoke can stay in the room for up to 2.5 hours. It sticks to clothes and soft furnishings. Every time you smoke another cigarette you top up the pollutants already in the room. Smoking in only one room, or opening doors and windows won’t help enough to make a difference. If you need to ask people to smoke outside, make sure they’re well away from the door, so smoke doesn't get blown back indoors. Even if people do go outside to smoke, they'll bring smoke particles back in on their clothes. So ideally, you’d have no smoking anywhere in or around your home. You may just have stepped out of the shower and put on freshly laundered clothes, but if you’re a smoker, there’s a good chance you stink of cigarettes and no amount of personal hygiene or expensive perfume can mask that awful smell!

Can Quitting Smoking Help You Smell and Taste Better?

Smelling like an ashtray isn't the only impact smoking has on the nose. Smokers also experience a dulling of their senses; smell and taste in particular take a hit when you smoke. Smokers can't appreciate the taste of many foods as intensely as they did before smoking, but it's really the loss of the sense of smell that diminishes the ability to taste. 

Can Smoking Effect How You Look?

Smoking leads to biochemical changes in the body that speed the ageing process. Smoking deprives the living skin tissue of oxygen by causing constriction of the blood vessels. As a result, blood doesn't get to your organs as easily, and that includes the skin - the muscles used in the face for smoking is what causes excess wrinkles around the mouth. Another classic smoker giveaway is tar staining of the hands and skin from holding cigarettes. Burning cigarette smoke is most apparent around the face and I think that what we sometimes see is staining of the skin from the tar and other deadly toxins in tobacco smoke.

Can Smoking Make You Impotent?

In one of my last articles I discussed causes and triggers of erectile dysfunction - the main trigger of this is caused by smoking. Smoking can generally add a hurdle to finding a new partner, and impotence sure won't help. Yet, smoking increases the chances of impotence dramatically for men by affecting blood vessels, including those that must dilate in order for an erection to occur.

How Much Does Smoking Cost?

If you're a smoker, it'll be no surprise to you that smoking is downright expensive - with the average price of a packet of cigarettes in the UK being £10.80. Providing you smoke 20 cigarettes (a pack) a day that totals to £3,942 pounds over the course of the year - who in this day and age has that sort of money to spend £4k on fags? And how can I get a job that allows this much disposable cash? It is more than enough to take you and your family on that fancy holiday you have always wanted to go on. 

Stop Smoking Hacks

Cravings for a cigarette usually last 3 to 5 minutes. If you can get over those few minutes, you are well on the way to not having that cigarette. The 4 D’s can help you do that:

  • DELAY: Wait at least 3 minutes; the urge to smoke will pass.
  • DRINK: Water or juice as soon as you start to feel a craving.
  • DISTRACT: Move away from the situation and start doing something different.
  • DEEP BREATHS: Breathe slowly and deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth.


If you are thinking of quitting smoking, why not pop into your local pharmacy to discuss options for the smoking cessation programme. Alternatively, there are plenty of support groups or councillors in your local area that will help you to stub out this awful habit - so take your last draw and that's the final straw! Your new healthy life starts today.

Author: Matthew Jennings

MPharm