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Smoking and your family

Smoking accounts for approximately 100,000 deaths a year in the United Kingdom. It harms nearly every organ in the body and causes preventable illnesses and premature death.

Smoking around family and friends

When you smoke it's not just your health that is being affected. Secondhand smoke is dangerous to anyone exposed to it. The quit smoking website Smokefree states that more than 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless, so no matter how careful you think you're being, your family still breathe in the harmful poisons. 

People who breathe in secondhand smoke are at risk of the same diseases as smokers, including cancer and heart disease and children are more vulnerable as they have less well developed airways, lungs and immune system.

Over eight hundred children visit their doctor every day due to the serious effects of secondhand smoke exposure, according to research published by the Royal College of Physicians.

A new survey highlights, despite the risks, that many children are still exposed to secondhand smoke:

  • 68% of parents who smoke admit to doing so in the car with their children present.
  • 75% of smoking parents were shocked to hear that secondhand smoke affects the health of so many children.

The only way to completely protect people from secondhand smoke is to make homes and cars entirely smoke free. As from the 1st October 2015 it is illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under the age of 18 years of age. People who fail to comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice. These new regulations will become part of the existing smoke free laws.

ASH the action for smoking and health website reports that between one third and one half of children who try smoking are likely to become regular smokers within 2-3 years.

One of the factors influencing children to start is parents and/or siblings who smoke. Did you know children are three times more likely to become smokers if their parents smoke than children from a non-smoking household?

If your teenager already smokes show them this Under 18 guide to stop smoking by the NHS.

The benefits of quitting smoking are huge:

  • You will save money, smoking is expensive! Smokefree has a cost calculator to see how much money you will save once you stop.
  • Your sense of taste will return and you will enjoy the taste of food more.
  • Your breathing and general fitness will improve.
  • The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.
  • You'll be more confident in social situations because you won't smell of stale smoke any more.
  • Your fertility levels will improve, along with your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • You will be protecting your family and friends by not exposing them to the harmful smoke.

The good news is there is a lot of support and advice available to you so you can quit and stay smoke free. The support ranges from nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), behavioural support, telephone calls, emails, texts or even an app on your phone all to help you keep healthy.

When you quit, not only will you and your family be healthier, you will look better and you'll have saved money so you can spend quality time together with the family.

For more information about how to quit, visit our support to stop smoking section.