Doctor looking at an x-ray of a pair of blackened lungs

Reasons to quit

There are lots of reasons to quit smoking – for health, money and family

Ashtray filled with ash and cigarette butts


Smoking shortens your life by around 10 years. Stopping is one of the best things you will ever do for your health. Quitting reduces your chances of cancer, heart disease and stroke, COPD and dementia.

Your body starts to recover from the day you stop.  Your lungs start to repair and you will be able to breathe easier within weeks.

What happens when you quit

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After 20 minutes

Check your pulse rate, it will already be starting to return to normal.

After 8 hours

Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the harmful carbon monoxide level in your blood will have reduced by half.

After 48 hours

All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.

After 75 hours

If you notice that breathing feels easier, it's because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.

After 2 to 12 weeks

Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.

After 3 to 9 months

Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases by up to 10%.

After 1 year

Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker's.

After 10 years

More great news! Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker's.

Person holding a wallet and inserting a two pound coin


Money can be a worry. But think of every £10 that’s gone up in smoke when you’ve bought tobacco. A 10 a day smoker spending £9 a pack is spending around £135 a month and over £1600 a year. Think of what you could buy – clothes, trips out, holidays or just paying the bills. How much could you save?

Woman sitting on bed looking out the window with her back to the camera

Reduce stress and anxiety

Quitting smoking is PROVEN to help reduce stress and anxiety and these benefits can start within weeks.  Using quit aids like NRT or vaping can make stopping much less stressful.  Doctors now know that smoking brings as many benefits in reducing anxiety and depression as taking anti-depressants.

Healthier pregnancy

Protecting your baby from smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. The sooner you stop smoking, the better chances you’ll have of a healthier, happier pregnancy and birth. Visit

Woman who appears seriously ill sitting on the sofa holding her young son.


We all want to be there for our loved ones, our children and our grandchildren. The illnesses and diseases caused by smoking shortens life but the risks reduce as soon as you stop smoking.  Your family can be a huge support to help you quit. Make sure you tell them you’re stopping.


None of us like to think about developing dementia. But evidence is clear that smoking raises the risks of developing dementia.

It is known that smoking increases the risk of vascular problems, including strokes or smaller bleeds in the brain, which are also risk factors for dementia. In addition, toxins in cigarette smoke cause inflammation and stress to cells, which have both been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Research UK advise: “evidence is that stopping smoking reduces your risk of dementia. This is similar to other findings with smoking, where stopping smoking leads to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.”