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Why you should stop smoking

Smoking is still a major preventable cause of death and disease and inequalities in health, killing over 100,000 people across the UK each year.

Research now shows that smokers are likely to need care on average nine years earlier than non-smokers.

Smoking is bad for your health, but exactly how will stopping make life better? Here are 10 ways your health will improve when you stop smoking:

  1. You will breathe more easily
  2. Gives you more energy
  3. You will feel less stressed
  4. Can lead to better sex
  5. Can improve fertility
  6. Improves smell and taste
  7. Stop smoking for younger-looking skin
  8. Ex-smokers have whiter teeth and sweeter breath
  9. Quit smoking to live longer
  10. A smoke-free home protects your loved ones

Read more about the health benefits on the NHS Quit Smoking page

Facts about smoking in York and North Yorkshire

Smoking continues to be the primary cause of premature mortality and preventable illness in York and North Yorkshire.

Whilst smoking rates have decreased over the last years, still more than one in ten local residents smoke. A similar proportion of pregnant women smoke, and this figure remains static over the last decade and far above the national target of 6%.

Between 2017 and 2019, 3,057 deaths were attributable to smoking across York and North Yorkshire, and 7,874 hospital admissions

Tackling smoking and tobacco use in the Vale of York

As commissioners of local healthcare we have joined the Smokefree Action Coalition as a demonstration of our commitment to tackling health inequalities and premature deaths.

We have also signed up to the North Yorkshire Tobacco Control Strategy 2015-25.

Help to quit smoking

Smokers that access a stop smoking service are three times more likely to quit. You can call the national helpline on 0300 123 1044 or visit the Smokefree website where experienced advisers guide smokers through the options for quitting, and will signpost you to local support to quit in your area

Local Stop Smoking services

All Vale of York residents can get free specialist support to stop smoking. There is a range of support, including drop-in clinics, group sessions, online support or weekly one-to-one appointments with a free weekly supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

Trained local stop smoking specialists will assess nicotine intake and habits, give advice on over the counter medication that can be purchased, provide quit kits with hints and tips, share phone apps and online support. If you have mobility problems and would prefer face-to-face support home visits are available too. If you are pregnant and would like to quit, you can access the service directly or your midwife can refer you.

The advisors are all specially trained in smoking in pregnancy and offer a one-to-one service to pregnant women who smoke and their partners too.

Over-the-counter products can also be purchased at community pharmacies.

For stop smoking advice in York, contact City of York Council’s Health Trainer Service:

For stop smoking advice, contact NYCC's Service:

For stop smoking advice, contact the East Riding Health Trainer Service:

Breathe 2025

Our local authority partners are supporting Breathe 2025, a new ten year campaign aiming to create a smokefree future for children. The vision is to see the next generation of children born and raised in a place that is free from tobacco.

The campaign hopes to achieve its aim through a variety of initiatives and is calling on people and organisations to show their support through simple, practical actions. To support Breathe you can download the resource pack and pledge your support.

Other useful sources of information

Smoking and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, stopping smoking is even more important. Smoking whilst pregnant raises the risk of infant mortality by 40 per cent and can cause many other problems, such as an increased risk of miscarriage or a low birth weight for the baby.

Stopping smoking will benefit both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gases like carbon monoxide and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body. When you stop smoking:

  • you will have fewer complications in pregnancy;
  • you are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby;
  • you will reduce the risk of stillbirth;
  • you will cope better with the birth;
  • 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 called sudden infant death.

Stopping smoking will also benefit your baby later in life. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other more serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment.

Stop smoking before surgery

It is very important that you stop smoking before surgery. Even though you may feel fit and healthy as a smoker, studies show that patients who smoke, are more likely to experience potentially serious complications both during and after surgery.

Following surgery, compared with ex-smokers and non-smokers, smokers are more likely to:

  • have pulmonary, circulatory, and infectious complications;
  • have reduced bone fusion and impaired wound healing;
  • be admitted to an intensive care unit;
  • have increased risk of in-hospital mortality; and
  • have an increased length of stay in hospital.

Stop Before Your Op

'Stop before your op' is the CCG’s pre-elective (planned) care smoking cessation policy for the Vale of York. It is evidence based and a component of a Tobacco Harm Reduction Strategy.

In order for patients to take advantage of smoking cessation advice and support, the policy is likely to delay referral for elective procedures by a minimum of 12 weeks.

Patients are not at any point denied surgery. The policy promotes smoking cessation treatment as part of the patient journey to reduce the serious risks associated with surgery for smokers.

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