With all the talk about the dangers of illegal drugs, it's easy to forget that you can buy one of the most widely used and highly addictive drugs at the corner shop. We all know that smoking kills, but we still do it. Why?
Some people say smoking helps you cope with stress. Some say it's a social thing, a way of relaxing with friends. Some people smoke because they are unhappy. Many say they wish they had never started.
Tobacco can only be sold legally to customers 18 years old and above. For more information on how to give up the weed, try some of the following websites.
- NHS Smoking Helpline
Open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am - 5pm, for help and advice
Telephone: 0800 022 4 332
- NHS Specialist Pregnancy Smoking Advice - 0800 169 9 169
Open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm.
- NHS Asian Tobacco Helplines - Open Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Urdu - 0800 169 0 881
Punjabi - 0800 169 0 882
Hindi - 0800 169 0 883
Gujarati - 0800 169 0 884
Bengali - 0800 169 0 885
Smoking is a major cause of illness and death from cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. It accounts for one fifth of all deaths in the UK, that's 120,000 deaths a year. A person who smokes cigarettes regularly, more than doubles his or her risk of dying before the age of 65. Half of all smokers will die from smoking related diseases.
Tobacco companies spend millions of pounds trying to persuade us that smoking is a normal part of everyday life. We see people smoking on TV, in films and magazines, at home, in the street, outside offices, in the pub, on the playing field. Sometimes it looks like everyone smokes. The reality is that only one in four adults are regular smokers, and every year more and more people decide to quit for good.
What happens when you quit?
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as patches or gum, can help if you are serious about quitting. NRT is available on prescription from your doctor, which means, it is either free, or much cheaper than buying it from the chemist. NRT will not usually be prescribed for people under the age of 16, although some doctors will make exceptions to this rule. If you talk to your doctor about smoking they will not tell anyone else without your permission.