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World No Tobacco Day

Be part of the change and help build a smoke free generation.

World No Tobacco Day encouraging people to stop smoking

about World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day (31st May) is an annual health awareness campaign initiated by the World Health Organisation, aiming to inform the public on the dangers of tobacco and inspire smokers to quit for good. For those considering breaking free from the hold of tobacco, this day presents the perfect opportunity to take that crucial step. It's a time for people to unite and offer encouragement and support to those on their quitting journey.

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced (…) All forms of tobacco use are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco.

Smoking prevalence in the UK has reduced considerably, however there is still a long way to go to achieve the NHS Long Term Plan ambition of becoming a smoke-free nation by 2030. Despite the clear health risks of smoking, it’s estimated that nearly 50 million cigarettes are smoked every day in England – around nine cigarettes a day per smoker. Be part of the change and help build a smoke free generation. It’s much easier to stop smoking when you get the right support and there are lots of options to choose from.


Tobacco smoke apart from nicotine, which is highly addictive, contains other poisonous chemicals, such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. The toxins in cigarettes affect your whole body not only while you’re smoking, but also after the cigarette is finished. Moreover, when you are having a cigarette, most of the smoke doesn't go into your lungs, but it goes into the air around you where anyone nearby can breathe it in. It’s important to know that passive smoking can be as dangerous as actively doing so.

Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Some of them may be fatal, and others can have a detrimental effect on your health. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause cancer in various parts of your body including lungs, throat, mouth, and many others. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing health conditions, such as heart attack, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease or stroke. Moreover, the damage to your lungs from smoking, can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. It can also worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections like the common cold. Furthermore, smoking can reduce the fertility of both men and women.

Smoking is the biggest preventable killer in the UK and places a huge burden on our NHS. Cigarettes are responsible for 64,000 deaths a year in England - no other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users.

Young man smoking cigarettes

Why is it good to stop smoking?

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can ever do for your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner you'll notice changes to your body. Have a look at what happens when you stop smoking:

Benefits of stopping smoking

Stopping smoking is also one of the best things people can do to save money to spend on other things. It is estimated that the average smoker spends around £47 a week on tobacco, which is around £2,450 a year.

How Can you Quit Smoking?

Quitting can be very difficult, as nicotine is addictive and smoking can be a part of your well-established routine, which is hard to break. Here are some of our tips that can help you succeed:

Set a date

The act of choosing a date will help you to mentally prepare yourself to stop smoking and focus on your goal. Many ex-smokers can tell you the exact day and time they had their last cigarette, because it was such a significant step for them, and an achievement they are incredibly proud of.


Make a plan

Before your quit date, throw away all your cigarettes before you start. Also, get rid of ashtrays, lighters and matches, and anything else that reminds you of cigarettes. Moreover, practice saying “no” when someone is offering you a cigarette - don’t be tempted by just one cigarette, as it often leads to another.

List your reasons to stop smoking

Make a list of all the reasons you want to become smoke free. When you will feel the urge to smoke, take a look at the list to remind yourself why you want to quit. Reasons for quitting could include:

  • Your overall health will improve and the risk of lung cancer, heart attack, stroke and other diseases will decrease

  • You will save money that could be spent on something that you enjoy. Use the quit calculator tool to see how much you have spent on the cigarettes so far.

  • Your sense of smell and taste will improve

  • Your breath will smell better

  • Your complexion will improve and you will avoid premature wrinkles

  • You will set a better example to your children and make it less likely that they start smoking themselves in the future

  • You will protect your family and friends from the dangers of second-hand smoke

Tell others that you're quitting

Let your family, friends and colleagues know that you want to quit smoking and tell them you need their support and encouragement to stop. Getting support from the important people in your life can make a big difference when you quit smoking.

Stay positive

You might have tried to quit smoking before and haven’t been successful, but don't let that put you off. Look back at the things your experience has taught you and think about how you're really going to do it this time.

Woman writing reasons why she should stop smoking

List your smoking triggers and try to avoid them

One of the useful things you can do to help yourself quit is to identify the things that make you want to smoke, including specific situations, activities, feelings, as well as people. Are you smoking after having some alcohol? Try switching to non-alcoholic drinks or drink only in places where smoking is prohibited. Are your friends or family smokers as well? Ask them not to smoke while you are around.

Use stop smoking aids

Different treatments are available to help you battle your addiction and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Speak to your GP or contact NHS stop smoking adviser to get an advice what options would be the most suitable for you. One of the widely used treatments to help with quitting is Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). It is a medication that provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar, carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals that are present in tobacco smoke. It can help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, which may occur when you stop smoking. NRT is available as skin patches, chewing gum, inhalers, microtabs, oral strips and lozenges, as well as nasal and mouth spray. Treatment with NRT usually lasts 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop. Always read the packet or leaflet before using NRT to check whether it's suitable for you.

Some people may also use nicotine vapes (e-cigarettes), as they can get a similar sensation and because the hand-to-mouth action is like smoking. Vapes are electronic devices that let you inhale nicotine in a vapour instead of smoke. This is done by heating a solution (e-liquid), which comes in different nicotine strengths and flavours. So far, vaping products are not available on prescription from the NHS. While vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, it is not completely harmless. If you are vaping to quit smoking, you should aim to eventually stop vaping too.

You can find further information on smoking aids here.

Build a support network

Pair up with someone else who’s looking to give up smoking and support each other. You can also connect with others and grow your support network through NHS’s Smokefree Quit Smoking Support Group.

Manage cigarette cravings by keeping busy

This is all about distraction. Find something you enjoy doing so it can take your mind off from cigarettes. You could work a crossword puzzle, read a book, take a dog for a walk, play board games with family, write a poem, do some painting, etc. There’s plenty to choose from!

Stay physically active

Many of the studies suggest that vigorous exercise can reduce the cravings for nicotine. Exercising will also help you to cope with stress and have more energy. You could start running, swimming, playing football, training martial arts, or even doing vigorous exercises at home, such as HIIT Workout


You may also find helpful the video from the World Health Organisation, in which Dr Dongbo Fu gives some useful tips and explains why it is difficult for some people to quit smoking.

Are you curious how other smokers have managed to quit smoking? Watch Donna’s story:

Getting Support

You're more likely to quit successfully with the right support. Using your willpower is crucial but you'll increase your chances of success if you get some additional help and advice.

Get daily email support

If you would like some extra support, you can sign up for daily emails to receive advice and tips from the NHS throughout your 28-day quit smoking journey - delivered straight to your inbox. After this, you can get occasional emails to help keep you on track.

Speak to an adviser

If you would like to talk to a trained adviser for guidance and support, please call for free:

  • National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only). The lines are open: Monday to Friday: 9am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 4pm

  • Quitline on 0800 00 22 00 at any time during your quitting process. The counsellors will be able to offer confidential help and advice.

Find your local Stop Smoking Service

Your local Stop Smoking Service has trained advisers on hand to provide you with guidance, support, and encouragement to help you stop smoking for good. The advises can give you more information on nicotine replacement products and other stop smoking medicines.

Download NHS’s Smokefree app

The Smokefree app is a 4-week programme that provides a practical support, encouragement and tailored advice. It features: daily support messages to motivate you, badges to reward your progress, savings calculator so you can see how much you save by not smoking, and many more. Download the app in the AppStore or Google Play




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