10 UK Smoking Facts to Help You Quit

Read our top ten smoking facts designed to help you quit for good and prepare a stop smoking plan today.

Quitting smoking might be one of the most challenging things you ever do—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In fact, today, more people in the UK are quitting than ever before, with 71,949 individuals successfully quitting between April and December 2020 according to the NHS Stop Smoking Service.1

For context, that’s 58.6% of the 122,762 individuals who asked the NHS for support, and for those that managed to quit the process has been life changing—with improved health, increased energy, and reduced stress levels just a few of the benefits of stubbing out your last cigarette.

So, if you’re on the path to quitting, and you’re determined to make this attempt successful, what else can you do to improve your chances? Here, we look at 10 UK smoking facts that will help keep you on the straight and narrow on your stop smoking journey.

Facts & Smoking Statistics in the UK

For smokers looking for a little bit of extra support, sometimes, a few UK smoking statistics and facts can wake you up. After all, knowing that someone has been on the same journey as you can help you to understand that quitting for good is possible, as well as reinforce the fact that smoking is harmful to you and those around you. Here then, we look at 10 top UK smoking facts and stats to support you as you quit.

1.      16% of All Deaths in the UK were attributable to smoking (2016) 2

In a 2016 report, 78,000 deaths were attributed to smoking—which is a staggering 16% of all deaths in the UK at that time. In addition to this, the same report identified that half of all lifelong smokers died on average 10 years before the average life expectancy.

2.      Smoking causes 15 types of cancer3

Backing up this sobering UK smoking statistic is the fact that smoking is known to cause at least 15 types of cancer. These include lung, larynx, oesophagus, oral cavity, nasopharynx, pharynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, stomach, bowel, cervix, leukaemia, and ovarian cancers. However, it is interesting to note that as more people quit, certain types of smoking-related cancer are on the decline, including lung, oesophageal, and bladder cancer.

3.      Nicotine doesn’t cause cancer4

It’s important to remember at this point that there is no evidence to suggest that nicotine causes cancer. It is, rather, the thousands of other chemicals contained within cigarettes that are linked to the disease. This is why NRT products and other nicotine substitutes are considered safer than tobacco.

4.      Smoking prevalence in the UK is at an all-time low5

One UK smoking statistic that may help you quit is the fact that fewer people smoke today than in the past, and rates continue to decline each year. In fact, it is estimated that as little as 8.5% and 11.7% will remain smokers by 2023, and there are long term plans in effect to achieve a smokefree society by 2030.

5.      In the UK, around 60% of smokers want to quit6

With this UK smoking fact in mind, it’s worth remembering that you are not alone if you’re a currently trying to quit. In fact, around two thirds of smokers have said that they want to quit soon, and quitting today means you’ll be able to access a huge range of support to help you on your journey.

6.      Stop smoking treatments work7

Whether it’s NRT products or stop smoking medications such as Champix and Zyban, these treatments have been empirically proven to help smokers to quit. For example, using NRT products makes it one and a half times as likely you will succeed on your mission to quit smoking for good without relapsing.

7.      Using more than one stop smoking aid can be more effective<>8

The good news is that combining a range of stop smoking aids with support make it 3 times more likely you will succeed. For example, many people use nicotine patches to provide a low-level intake of nicotine, and then use other NRT products such as gum or lozenges as a fast-acting product for sudden cravings. Approaches such as these can be combined with support from the NHS Stop Smoking Service, with advice on quitting available at every step.

8.      NRT is not addictive in the same way as cigarettes9

The bottom line is, if you use NRT or other nicotine delivery products, it is extremely unlikely that you will simply replace one addiction for another. This is because the drug is delivered more slowly than cigarettes and also doesn’t combine with the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco of which little is understood.

9.      Risks of coronary heart disease are halved after one year10

Some good news for anyone who successfully makes it through the first year—the risk of developing coronary heart disease is reduced by 50%11. This UK smoking fact can help push you on through those difficult days, knowing that, even in after a relatively short period of time you will be significantly healthier than you were when you smoked.

10.  Passive smoking increases the risks of lung cancer by 20-30% and coronary heart disease by 25-35%.12

Finally, a reminder that your smoking habit doesn’t only affect you, and passive smoking is a serious health concern for those around you. In fact, passive smoking is known to increase the likelihood of a broad range of diseases, including heart disease, lung, breast, and other cancers, as well as stroke and even dementia.

These are just a few of the many UK smoking facts and statistics that may help you to quit for good. The bottom line is, however, that quitting today will mean you are healthier, richer, and less likely to cause harm to other through passive smoking.

For more information on NRT, explore our nicotine replacement therapy products and begin your smoke-free journey today! Additionally, to get extra support, contact your local NHS stop smoking service and prepare your stop smoking plan.

Find out more about quitting


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