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Most people know that smoking is bad for our health but not exactly how it might affect us.

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable illness and death, with around 64,000 people dying as a result of smoking every year. Smoking is linked to cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, strokes and severe lung conditions and increases the chances of dementia, depression, anxiety and many other illnesses. Not only this, but it is also really expensive! A person smoking 20 per day spends over £4000 a year on cigarettes.

If you have smoked for a long time and suffered ill health due to smoking it is obvious that some damage cannot be reversed. You will, however, start noticing changes like these:

  • Within 20 minutes your heart rate and blood pressure reduce
  • Within 12-24 hours carbon monoxide in the blood return to normal increasing oxygen levels.
  • Within 24 hours the chance of heart attacks reduces.
  • Within 2 weeks to 3 months circulation improves and lung function increases. You will also start getting your sense of taste and smell back.
  • Within 1-3 months anxiety reduces and your mood improves
  • Within 1-9 months lungs regain normal ciliary function (internal ‘cleaning mechanism’), reducing infection risk
  • Within 1 year a risk of heart attack is halved
  • Within 5 to 15 years risk of stroke is the same as if you had never smoked.
  • By 10 years the risk of lung cancer is approximately halved. The risk of cancers in the mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas also decrease.
  • The benefits are greater the younger you are when you stop, however stopping at any age will bring significant health benefits as late as age 60 could still increase life expectancy by as much as three years.

We know stopping smoking is really hard. Most smokers try to stop several times before they finally succeed. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known but on its own it is not really harmful. It is the other 5000 dangerous chemicals in tobacco causing every organ in the body to suffer. Any time you spend not smoking will benefit you and it is always worth a try.

For help to stop smoking, please call or view the websites below. Find out about self-help tips, practical steps to follow, local groups, GP services, one-to-one appointment with an adviser, Pharmacy services, local stop smoking groups and other services.

Stop smoking support

One You Kent: 01323 404 600 /

One You East Sussex: 0300 123 1044 /

Quit for You inpatient programme

Aside from the numerous risks already mentioned, smoking also slows down your recovery from operations. It slows wound and bone healing after surgery and increases the chance of infection and re-admission.

If you are admitted to our hospitals as an inpatient our staff will ask you about your smoking habits and start treating your nicotine cravings on admission – we have a specially trained team of Tobacco Dependency Advisors ready to help. While you are with us we can support you with just managing tobacco withdrawal symptoms or helping you to stop smoking permanently.

For more information please email the team on or call 01622-228524/ 228525.

Quit for Two pregnancy programme

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it’s never too late to quit.

Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body. When you stop smoking:

  • you will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • you are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • you will reduce the risk of stillbirth
  • your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • your baby is less likely to be born underweight: babies of women who smoke are, on average, 200g (about 8oz) lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour. For example they are more likely to have a problem keeping warm and are more prone to infection
  • you will reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome 

Our team of specially trained Smoke-free Pregnancy Advisors are available to offer support and guidance for giving up smoking during your pregnancy. They can be contacted by emailing