MYTHS

1. I'll put on weight

There is a good chance you won't put any weight on at all, provided you don't reach for sweets and biscuits as a distraction. The average weight gain for those who do however is less than 2 kilogram's - the health risks of being an extra 2 kilogram's overweight is significantly less than the health risks associated even with occasional smoking.

2. I'll become a nervous wreck

No, nicotine is a stimulant, which increases the heart rate and makes the brain more alert. Reducing nicotine intake will make you edgy initially however this is due to a craving for nicotine and not reaction to stress. Once your body acclimatises to the nicotine withdrawal you should not feel any additional stress symptoms.

3. My social life will go downhill

It is difficult to be around people who are still smoking while you are trying to give up. Try substituting visits to the pub with visits to the cinema, gym or any smoke-free place until you can go out for the evening without giving in to the temptation to restart.

4. I've given up before and failed

On average, most people take three or four attempts to give up cigarettes before they are successful. You need to view a lapse not so much as a failure as a step on the way to finally succeeding.

Keep busy and take it one step at a time..

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Long-Term Health Effects

Go to this page for further information about the long-term health effects of smoking (opens new page).

Thanks to Amy for identifying this useful resource.

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CUTTING DOWN ON SMOKING 'A FOOL'S PARADISE'

HEALTH campaigners are warning smokers that reducing their intake may not give them any health benefits.

They say research shows that people who cut back, or switch to 'low-tar' cigarettes, often inhale more deeply.

Cancer Research UK says there is a danger people have become "confused" about the health issues surrounding levels of smoking.

Jean King, director of tobacco control at the charity, said: "Work must continue to encourage people to quit altogether rather than just to cut down.

"Research shows that people who cut back, or switch to 'low-tar' cigarettes, may often inhale more deeply and can be just as addicted to nicotine as people who smoke more."

Professor Martin Jarvis, from the Health Behaviour Unit at University College London, added: "As a first step towards quitting smoking altogether, cutting down can be helpful for some people. But it should not stop there.

"Cutting down can easily be a fool's paradise because, without realising it, people smoke their remaining cigarettes more intensively.

"They can end up getting just as much exposure to tar and other harmful smoke components as before they reduced their cigarette consumption."

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Is it true that taking a baby into a smoky room increases the risk of cot death. If so, how long does that risk last - hours or days?

Babies exposed to smoky environments are at an increased risk of cot death. The more a baby is exposed, the higher the risk

The UK's largest-ever cot death study (Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirths and Deaths in Infancy) found that for every hour of the day that a baby usually spends in a smoky environment, the risk of cot death goes up nearly 100%. So, if you halve the number of hours a baby spends each day in smoky atmospheres, you halve the risk of cot death.

Although research has estimated the increase in risk from regular exposure to tobacco smoke, to date it has not been possible to estimate the risk from occasional exposure.


Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk?


Yes, there are six steps to take:

Place your baby on the back to sleep

Cut smoking in pregnancy - fathers too!

Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby

Do not let your baby get too hot

Keep baby's head uncovered - place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot, to prevent wriggling down under the covers

If your baby is unwell, seek medical advice promptly

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BREAST CANCER RISKS FOR TEEN SMOKERS

TEENAGE girls who smoke could be increasing their risk of breast cancer in later life by 70%.

Research to date has not shown any convincing evidence of a link between smoking and breast cancer.

A new study suggests that girls who take up smoking during adolescence, when they are still developing, may face a substantial increased risk.

However, the same study indicates that smoking in women who take up the habit after their first full-term pregnancy may significantly reduce the chances of breast cancer.

Researchers in Canada looked at about 600 premenopausal women and 1,400 postmenopausal women, both with and without breast cancer.

The women were asked about their history of smoking, and risk factors associated with breast cancer such as hormone replacement therapy.

Analysis of the results, reported in the Lancet medical journal, show that women who start smoking within five years of starting their periods are 70% more likely to develop breast cancer than non-smokers.

Pierre Band, from the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, who led the study, said:

"These results - which suggest that human breast tissue is most sensitive to environmental carcinogens during periods of rapid cell proliferation when differentiation is incomplete - add epidemiological evidence to experimental studies, relating susceptibility to carcinogenisis to the biology of breast development.

"Our observations reinforce the importance of smoking prevention, especially in early adolescence."

He says British Columbian women have a premenopausal cancer risk of one in 55, adding: "An increased risk of 70% would lead to an additional 1,000 premenopausal breast cancer cases out of 100,000 teenage smokers."

 

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