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Why a 30-second chat about smoking could save someone's life

14 October 2021
4 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 18

Giving up smoking is a huge challenge, but for smokers this is the single best thing they can do to protect their health. Smoking-related illnesses claim the lives of 90 000 people in the UK every year. Between 2016 and 2018, 77 600 deaths were attributable to smoking per year in England, while for Wales the figures were 5000 deaths, for Scotland 10 000 deaths and for Northern Ireland 2300 deaths (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2020). The habit accounts for more years of life lost than any other modifiable risk factor.

Smoking also impacts on an individual's quality of life. It not only causes lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but also contributes to exacerbating existing lung conditions, with smokers seeing their GPs more than a third more often than non-smokers.

This month, mass quitting event Stoptober is under way for the tenth year running—and since 2012 it has helped 2.3 million people in England to quit smoking.

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