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Smoking and its Health Implications

Tobacco smoke has over 4000 chemicals in it including arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, ammonia and formaldehyde. After smoking a cigarette, these chemicals immediately increase the heart rate and blood pressure.

Smoking contributes significantly towards heart disease, lung and other cancers, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is also linked to complications in diabetes, osteoporosis, impotency, infertility, strokes and other conditions.

120,000 people die prematurely from smoking related disease each year in the UK. This is equivalent to 330 deaths per day or one Jumbo plane load crashing each day!

The incidence of heart disease and diabetes is significantly higher amongst South Asians. According to the report: "Health Survey for England: The Health of Minority Ethnic Groups" and information from the British Heart Foundation.

Pakistanis and Bangladeshis of both sexes are more than 5 times as likely as the general population to have diabetes and Indian men and women are almost 3 times as likely.
Asian women have a 51% and men a 46% higher chance of dying prematurely from a coronary heart disease.
Pakistani and Bangladeshi men have rates of heart disease about 60-70% higher than men in the general population.
Indian men have higher rates of stroke than in the general population.
Chewing tobacco has a serious affect on the mouth, throat and stomach. Mouth, throat and stomach cancers can be caused by chewing tobacco. Chewing paan (betel leaf) with tobacco, common in some South Asian communities, causes cancers, dental problems and mouth ulcers.

Is it difficult to quit?

Most smokers want to stop smoking. This can improve their health and they can live longer. It is not easy quitting as nicotine addiction holds the smoker ‘prisoner’. However, more than 11 million people in the UK have successfully quit smoking. There is no quick and easy way

Ten steps to quit smoking

MAKE A DATE - Stick to your date. Most people who successfully quit smoking do so by stopping altogether, and not by gradually cutting down.

KEEP BUSY – It will help take your mind off cigarettes. Throw away all your ashtrays, lighters, and unopened cigarette packets.

DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS - Keep a glass of water or juice by you and sip it steadily. Try different flavours.

GET MORE ACTIVE - Walk instead of using the bus or car. Try the stairs instead of the lift. Exercise helps you relax and can boost your morale.

THINK POSITIVE AND MANAGE YOUR WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS - Withdrawal can be unpleasant but it is a sign your body is recovering from the effects of tobacco. Irritability, urges to smoke and poor concentration are common - don't worry, they usually disappear after a couple of weeks. However, you can use Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum etc.) or Zyban to manage your withdrawal symptoms. Phone 0800 169 0169 or 0800 00 22 88 and ask for your local free stop smoking service or see your GP.

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE - Try to avoid the shop where you usually buy cigarettes. Perhaps you should avoid the canteen at work if there are lots of smokers around you. Try doing something totally different. Surprise yourself!7

NO EXCUSES - Don't use a crisis or even good news to be an excuse for 'just one cigarette' there is no such thing - you will soon want the next and the next.

TREAT YOURSELF - This is important. If you can, use the money you are saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special - big or small - that you usually would not have.

- Try not to snack on fatty or sugary foods. If you do need to snack try fruit, raw vegetables, or sugar-free gum or sweets.

TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME - Each day without a cigarette is good news for your health, your family - and your pocket. If you do not succeed this time try, try and try again! Each attempt increases your chances of quitting successfully.

For further information and smoking statistics see the Asian Quitline Factsheet.


Asian Quitline Factsheet.

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