What should you know about smoking?

It is no secret that smoking is one of the main contributors to the deterioration of your health. Being a smoker severely increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and cancer.

  • About nine out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking, either directly or through passive smoking.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 people who die from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are smokers.
  • Smokers have a life expectancy, on average, about ten years lower than non-smokers.
  • Smokers have nearly twice the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke compared with people who have never smoked.
  • Smoking can prematurely age your skin by between 10 and 20 years, and you’re more likely to have facial wrinkles at a younger age.
  • Smoking 10 or more cigarettes a day increases your risk of kidney cancer by 1.5.
  • Smoking can reduce fertility in women and increase the chance of cervical cancer. It can also increase your risk of miscarriage, still birth, low birth weight and premature birth.
  • Men who smoke have a lower sperm count and a higher risk of erectile dysfunction.
  • More than 93% of mouth and throat cancers are caused by smoking.

It is not only your health that is put at risk by smoking, but the health of those around you. Research shows that exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can make asthma and allergies worse, and in the long term can increase the risk of developing lung cancer and coronary heart disease (British Heart Foundation, 2013).

It is never too late to quit smoking as your health will always benefit. Although the short term withdrawal symptoms may cause you to become sad, irritable, anxious, and restless, want to eat or crave a cigarette, they are outweighed by the long term benefits to your health:

  • Within hours. The amount of carbon monoxide in your blood will return to normal within 48 hours. (Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that can get into your blood and makes it harder for you to breathe.)
  • Within days. Your sense of taste and smell will get better.
  • In one to two months. If you have a long-term cough, symptoms like coughing, producing phlegm, and wheezing will improve.
  • In one year. If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, a condition that makes it hard for you to breathe), your breathing will get easier.
  • In five years. For women, your chances of getting cervical cancer drop to the same as someone who's never smoked.
  • In 10 to 15 years. Your chances of getting coronary heart disease (which causes heart attacks) are about the same as someone who's never smoked.
  • In 10 to 20 years. Your chances of getting lung cancer fall to about two thirds of what they would have been if you'd carried on smoking. (British Medical Journal, 2014)

Financial benefits

Based on a pack of 20 cigarettes costing £7.47:

Cigarettes per day







Month 1







Month 3







Month 6







1 Year







After 1 year I could buy

An iPad

A 40” TV and home cinema system

Two months repayment on a mortgage for a semi-detached house

A fully fitted kitchen

A family holiday for two weeks in Barbados

A new car

Source: Lloyds Pharmacy

For more information on how to quit successfully please visit the British Heart Foundation website.

Where can you go?

The single most effective way of preventing long term health deterioration is to quit smoking. You are far more likely to succeed in quitting if you get some expert help. Smokefreelife Berkshire runs a number of local support groups that support you through the whole quitting process.

Smokefreelife also offer zumba, salsa, 5-a-side football and aerobics/ circuit training to anyone who is making a quit attempt. For more information please speak to an advisor using the smokefreelife Berkshire phone number.

All Lloyds pharmacies in Bracknell also offer the NHS Stop Smoking Service. Here you can pick up a free NHS Quit Kit, get expert advice and support, as well as weekly progress checkups. You may also be eligible for free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (see below).

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

When quitting smoking, nicotine withdrawal symptoms are one of the most prominent issues. Nicotine is highly addictive and so breaking the craving is the hardest part of quitting. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a way of getting nicotine into your bloodstream without smoking.  This can improve your chances of quitting. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is offered in the form of gum, patches, spray, inhalers, lozenges and tablets. The effectiveness of each form of therapy depends on the individual and so it is important to find the best one for you.

Contact details for local services

  • Smokefreelife Berkshire | Tel: 0800 622 6360 | Text: QUIT to 66777
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (town centre) - Portacabin At 3 Market Place, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1DT | Tel: 01344 489188
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Rectory Row) - 8 Rectory Row, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7BN | Tel: 01344 421755
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Great Hollands) - 6 Great Holland Square, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 8UX | Tel: 01344 420293
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Birch Hill) - 97 Liscombe, Birch Hill Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7DE | Tel: 01344 423828
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Binfield) - Terrace Road North, Binfield, Berkshire RG42 5JG | Tel: 01344 868486
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Crowthorne) - 12 Dukes Ride, Crowthorne, Berkshire RG45 6LT | Tel: 01344 772432
  • Lloyds Pharmacy (Sandhurst) - 390-400 Yorktown Road, College Town, Sandhurst, Berkshire GU47 0HL | Tel: 01276 33795