Facts about smoking: 10 things to know to help you quit


The party season is over, everyone’s back at work and there’s no nights out planned until February – so what better time to try and stub out that smoking habit for good.

You might have tried umpteen times before, but don’t despair – millions of smokers across the country will also be wrestling with temptation this month as they try to put a stop to the smelly addiction once and for all.

The good news is, according to the NHS if you stop smoking for 28 days you’re five times more likely to stop smoking for good.

That bad news is, it’s really hard, especially for the first few days while you try to weather the withdrawal symptoms. So here’s 10 facts to inspire you to keep going.


1. 1 billion

Approximate number of smokers in the world. There are 9.6 million smokers in Great Britain, around 19 per cent of the adult population. Twenty per cent are men and 17 per cent are women.

2.  5.8 trillion 

Number of cigarettes smoked worldwide in 2014. The Chinese smoked the most – they puffed away on more cigarettes than the next top 29 cigarette-consuming nations combined that year – and this trend has not changed.

3. £9.60

The average price of 20 Marlboro in the UK in 2016. In 2015, a 20-a-day smoker of a premium brand spent about £3,000 a year on cigarettes. The price of tobacco has increased by a huge 87 per cent between 2004 and 2014 in Britain, making it a very expensive habit.

4. 10%

A tax increase that increases tobacco prices by this much decreases tobacco consumption by about four per cent in high-income countries, and about five per cent in low and middle income countries.

5. 6 million

Approximate number of people tobacco kills each year across the world. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. About half of regular cigarette smokers will be killed by their addiction. In Britain smoking is responsible for 96,000 deaths a year.

6. 1974

The year that total cigarette volumes peaked in the UK when 51 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women smoked. Since then smoking rates have halved.

7. 4,000

Number of chemicals in tobacco smoke. These include carbon monoxide, arsenic, formaldehyde, cyanide, benzene, toluene and acrolein. At least 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

8. 19.9%

Percentage of people in the North East of England who smoked in 2014 – the highest out of all regions in England. It was the lowest in the South East in 2014, which had a prevalence of 16.6 per cent.

9. £9.5 billion

Amount the UK government raked in in revenue from tobacco tax (excluding VAT) in 2014-15. The cost of smoking to the NHS in England is estimated to be £2 billion a year.

10. £5.8 billion

Cost of smoking breaks to businesses every year in England. Treating smoking-related diseases also costs the NHS £2 billion a year.

Here’s some great reasons to quit smoking

  • Feeling great
  • Reduced health risks
  • Extra money in your pocket
  • Improved breathing and general fitness
  • Fresher breath
  • An improved sense of smell and taste
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Cleaner lungs and a stronger heart

Feel like you’re about to cave? Here’s some distractions

  • Talk to someone – call a friend or relative to get some support
  • Go for a brisk walk – this will help clear your head and lungs
  • Stay busy – play a game on your mobile phone
  • Drink a glass of water or juice – keep yourself occupied for those crucial few minutes
  • Change scene – just moving to another room can help, or step outside and get some fresh air

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