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Help to stop smoking

Smoking & health

Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and death in the UK. On average, cigarette smokers die 10 years younger than non-smokers, with around 100,000 people dying every year in the UK as a result of their habit. 

The good news is that upon quitting you immediately begin reaping the health benefits. Take a look at what sort of health improvements you can expect to experience: 

Time since quitting

Health benefits

20 minutes

Pulse returns to normal.

8 hours

Nicotine is reduced by 90% and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by 75%. Circulation improves.

24 hours

Carbon monoxide and nicotine almost eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out smoking debris.

48 hours

All traces of nicotine are removed from the body. The ability to taste and smell improves.

72 hours

Breathing is easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

2-12 weeks

Circulation improves.

1 month

Physical appearance improves - skin loses its grey pallor and becomes less wrinkled.

3-9 months

Coughing and wheezing declines.

1 year

Excess risk of a heart attack reduces by half.

10 years

Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a continuing smoker.

15 years

Risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Stop smoking medication

A variety of medication is available to help smokers who want to quit. This includes nicotine replacement products such as patches, gum, spray, lozenges, and Champix.  Nicotine replacement products work by delivering nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes) to your body without the other 4000 harmful toxins found in every cigarette. By providing a healthier nicotine alternative, people stopping smoking can manage their initial cravings in a way that can be reduced over the term of their stop smoking programme. Champix is initially taken while you still smoke and works by minimising the positive effects a cigarette has on your brain as well as reducing your nicotine cravings.

E-cigarettes - a way of stopping smoking?

E-cigarettes are not currently regulated as a product and therefore we cannot vouch for their safety or recommend them as an effective way to stop smoking. That said, evidence of their effectiveness in helping smokers stop smoking is growing. What's important is that smokers understand that in order to change their smoking habits in the long term, it's essential they receive behavioural support in addition to any form of nicotine replacement product, including e-cigarettes.


In an effort to make stopping smoking as easy as possible for you, clinics are available in a range of locations including:

  • pharmacies
  • GP surgeries & health centres
  • mobile 'Quit Van' clinics
  • local voluntary services

Health Trainers

Provide's Essex Lifestyle Service aims to empower the people of Essex to make healthy lifestyle choices, and live healthier happier lives. This is done by listening to you, discussing your needs and providing up to date support to help you make changes to your current lifestyle.

They offer stop smoking support, guidance on diet and exercise and help with developing increased self-esteem and self-management. They also offer classes to support people suffering from long term conditions, and are also able to sign post people to appropriate support provided in their community. You can refer yourself to this free service by visiting their website. 

Other information and advice

Smokefree is the NHS national stop-smoking website. It contains a wealth of information, advice, and tools to help you quit. There are also real-life stories to encourage and inspire you. 

Essex Libraries have a wide range of books to help people to stop smoking.

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