As the number of smokers in the UK continues to slowly decline, there are still a large number of people smoking in the UK. It's important to stay informed about the dangers of smoking and how it affects our health. In this article, we're sharing 6 shocking facts about smoking that everyone should be aware of in 2023.
Smoking is responsible for over 76,000 deaths each year in the UK
Each year, smoking is responsible for more than 76,000 deaths in the UK alone. It remains the number one preventable cause of death across the entire globe. The health risks associated with are well-known and include an array of devastating diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. Tragically, these numbers are not declining quickly enough and many people still suffer the consequences of smoking each year.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the UK, with 35,500 (52%) of all cancer deaths being caused by smoking. This statistic is even more alarming when you consider the fact that 23,700 (35%) of all respiratory deaths in 2020 were directly linked to smoking-related illnesses, and this figure will have likely climbed with the COVID outbreak. It's clear that smoking has a devastating impact on the health of people across the UK.
One cigarette costs you 11 days of your life
One of the most shocking facts about smoking is that one cigarette can cost you 11 days of your life. That's right, a study found that just one single cigarette has the potential to reduce your life expectancy by eleven days. This statistic alone should be a huge motivation for smokers to quit and switch to a less harmful alternative such as vaping. For a pack of 20 cigarettes, you could lose 3 hours and 40 minutes of your life - that's watching a film with a loved one or a shopping trip with friends.
More than half of all cancer deaths are due to smoking
The sad truth is that more than half of all cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking. Research shows that smoking increases your chances of developing certain types of cancers, including lung, mouth, throat and oesophagus cancers. The longer you smoke, the higher your risk of developing smoking-related cancer increases.
Smoking can also increase your risk of developing other medical conditions, such as stroke and heart disease. Smoking damages the inner lining of your arteries, making it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body. This can lead to an increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Lower socio-economic backgrounds have higher rates of smoking
Sadly, smoking is still more widespread among those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Research has shown that those in poverty are more likely to smoke as a coping mechanism, due to increased stress and anxiety levels. This can lead to an even greater burden of smoking-related diseases within these communities, which is why it's so important that we tackle the issue head-on.
Smoking can change the way you look
Smoking can have a huge effect on the way you look, both inside and out. You likely already know about how it can lead to an increased risk of developing gum disease. This is caused by bacteria found in the smoke that damages your gums and oral tissue. You probably also know how smoking can cause your fingers to stain yellow. But did you know smoking can cause wrinkles, brittle and less shiny hair, and drier, pasty skin that can age your appearance? When someone has smoked for a long time there are many visible factors that make it easy to point out.
Vaping is far less harmful than smoking
Vaping is far less harmful than smoking and this has been confirmed by numerous studies. In fact, a recent evidence update conducted by Public Health England in 2021 confirmed once again that E-Cigarettes are 95% less damaging to your health than traditional cigarettes. This means that those who switch from smoking to vaping can reduce their exposure to countless dangerous chemicals and carcinogens found in regular cigarettes.
Moreover, vaping can be a great way to quit smoking for good, as it provides the same nicotine hit without harmful smoke. This means that you can still get your nicotine fix in a much less harmful way. This is of course not to say that vaping is completely harmless, it is for this reason that vaping is only suggested to those that would benefit from it - smokers.
To wrap things up
In conclusion, smoking is still a huge issue in the UK, with more than 5.4 million smokers and 76,000 deaths caused by it each year. Smoking causes an array of devastating health issues and related diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. Lower socio-economic backgrounds have higher rates of smoking due to increased stress and anxiety levels. Fortunately, vaping is far less harmful than smoking and can be a great way to quit smoking for good if it is the right choice for you. Ultimately, quitting smoking and switching to a less harmful alternative such as vaping could save your life - so don't hesitate to take the first step today.
It's never too late to stop and start making healthier life choices.