CHSS Advice Line
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Smoking has a huge effect on your health and it can cause, or worsen, several different chest, heart and stroke conditions including:
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.
If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you’re 6 times more likely to have a stroke than a non-smoker. It also doubles your risk of having a heart attack, and 1 in 4 long-term smokers will develop the chest condition COPD.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals. These chemicals make the walls of your arteries rough and sticky. As a result, fatty material in your blood sticks to the walls of your arteries and builds up over time. This leads to increased risk of stroke or heart problems.
The chemicals in smoke destroy lung tissue and irritate your airways. Extra mucus is also produced in your lungs, and smoking affects the ability of your lungs to clean out this extra mucus. As a result, you will find it harder to breathe, will cough more, and may develop a serious chest condition.
The benefits of stopping smoking start as soon as you quit. The risks to your health start to decline as quickly as 20 minutes after your last cigarette!
Some of the main benefits of stopping smoking include:
At first it may feel overwhelming to think about stopping smoking. But try to think about the future and make the decision to take a positive step towards better health.
You can do it! Different approaches to giving up smoking suit different people, so find one that works for you. There is a lot of help and support available to help you give up the habit.
Here are our top tips to help you stop smoking:
Nicotine in smoke is addictive. When you stop smoking it takes 3 to 4 days for nicotine to fully leave your body. Be prepared for the first few days to be among the most difficult – you may feel irritable, restless or have a low mood. You may also find it difficult to concentrate or sleep.
The craving for a cigarette usually only lasts 3 to 5 minutes and will pass. Stay strong! These cravings will reduce.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are four times more likely to stop smoking with professional help and medication – you don’t need to do it on your own.
In Scotland, support to stop smoking from your local NHS stop smoking service is free. These services are available across the country.
Your GP or pharmacist can also offer help and advice to help you stop. You may be offered medication such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
If you feel it would be helpful, ask your family and friends for support. This can make a big difference.
You can make sure people with chest, heart or stroke in conditions Scotland get the support they need after returning home from hospital.
If you – or someone you know – needs help right now, we’re here for you.
Read our Essential Guides for more information.
Download our booklet on Stopping Smoking to find out more about the topics discussed on this page.
View this page
Visit NHS Inform’s website to learn more and find support in your local area.
Call Quit Your Way Scotland for free on 0800 848 484 for help and advice, or chat online with a Quit Your Way Scotland advisor
Speak to our Advice Line nurses on freephone 0808 801 0899 for free, confidential advice and support.
Visit our Services page find out more about the support that’s available to help you live well.
This page was last updated on May 6, 2022 and is under regular review. If you feel anything is missing or incorrect, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to provide feedback.