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Stopping smoking

Going smoke-free isn't easy, but when you see the drastic improvements to your life and health, you'll want to get your action plan going as quickly as you can.
Man holding out arms on a beach in front of a sunset

“It’s the best thing I have ever done. I wish I’d done it sooner”
Geoff, 45, Haywards Heath

 “I cannot believe how much extra time I now have and I’ve saved loads of money”
Alan, 62, East Grinstead

“I started smoking at the age of 13 like many of my friends…you reach that stage you have to quit…enough is enough”
Ray, 73, Lancing

How will my health benefit?

  • You will reduce your risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.
  • You will reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems.
  • You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
  • You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear.
  • You will improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • You will improve your breathing and general fitness.
  • You will enjoy the taste of food more.

How soon will I notice the difference?


20 minutes after quitting
Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.

8 hours
Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.

24 hours

Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.

48 hours

There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.

72 hours

Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

2–12 weeks

Your circulation improves.

3–9 months

Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10 percent.

5 years

Risk of heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.

10 years

Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

How else will I benefit? Stop smoking, start saving!

Stack of pound coins

Not only is smoking bad for your health, it is also a drain on your finances. Look what you could save if you stop smoking today*…

*based on 20 cigarettes a day

Money saved after one week: £38.50

What you can buy: You'll be saving £5.50 a day – enough for a daily treat such as a lipstick, or frappuccinos for you and a friend. Or save it until the end of the week and you'll have £38.50 for a haircut.

After one month: £165

What you can buy: A good digital camera to keep a record of the good times.

After three months: £495

What you could buy: Your savings could now pay for a holiday.

After six months: £990

What you can buy: A whole new wardrobe. Or you’ve saved enough for about 100 CDs/DVDs.

After one year: £1,980

What you can buy: A designer watch – time to bring on the bling. Or new wheels. Put down the deposit on a new car or buy one second-hand.

I am ready, how can I get help to stop smoking?

There are more than 150 places in West Sussex where you can get NHS help to stop smoking.

There are group sessions, drop-ins, one-to-one support, help at your GP practice or from your local pharmacy.

Call our local NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0300 100 1823 to find out what is close to where you live or work.

Or use the links on the right-hand side of this page to find out more on our website about services in West Sussex.

Smoke-free homes – do you smoke at home or in the car?

Ashtray in foreground, family in background

Second-hand smoke comes from the tip of a cigarette and the smoke that is exhaled by the smoker. Wherever people have a cigarette, there is second-hand smoke in the air although you might not notice it because it is almost invisible and odourless.

Even if you open a window, second-hand smoke will still be present in a room after two-and-a-half hours! Even if you can't see or smell any smoke, it's probably still there. Smoking in a car is even worse because all the smoke is concentrated in a small space.

People breathing in second-hand smoke are at risk of the same diseases as smokers, including cancer and heart disease, because second-hand smoke contains 4,000 toxic chemicals. It is estimated that it causes thousands of deaths each year.

Children are particularly affected by second-hand smoke because their bodies are still developing, and around half of all British children are growing up in homes where at least one parent is a smoker.

Find out what support is on offer by visiting our services section (see the links in the right-hand section of the page).