More than half smokers unaware of health risks: NHS Survey

According to Britain’s NHS, more than half of smokers do not appreciate the risks associated with the habit.

The figures come from NHS Smokefree research that showed that 53% of smokers underestimate the number of annual deaths from smoking-related diseases by at least 70,000. The actual number of such deaths is more than 80,000. A further 58% underestimated how many long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases. According to the NHS, the figure is one in two of all such smokers. Of those surveyed, 8% did not realize smoking can seriously damage their health or lead to early death. Smokers also underestimated how much money goes on cigarettes. Someone smoking 20 cigarettes a day spends on average £2,405 a year on the habit, but smokers believed it cost roughly £1,800.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton urged people to quit smoking. She said, “Quitting smoking is the very best thing you can do to improve your health this New Year. What's clear is that the majority of smokers want to quit smoking and free NHS help is available to help them quit for good. The new and improved NHS Quit Kit is available in chemists who are working with us across England and will give smokers who want to give up advice, information and tools to help them enjoy a healthier 2012.”

The NHS Quit kit aims to increase the number of quit attempts by smokers and to help make those quit attempts more successful. It will run until 31 March 2012. More than 7,000 pharmacies across England have already signed up to distribute Quit Kits in 2012 – nearly double the number of participants in 2011.

The NHS Quit Kit has been developed by experts, smokers and ex-smokers, and contains practical tools and advice to help smokers quit smoking for good. For the first time, the Quit Kit includes a new text support programme to give smokers extra help in those tough first weeks.

It also contains a health/wealth wheel, which helps quitters calculate how much they are saving and the improvements they will see to their health, tips on how to improve and boost willpower, including a quitting planner which helps quitters identify smoking triggers and offers tips on managing cravings, MP3 downloads that are scientifically proven to reduce cravings, a wall chart to map progress, a ‘tangle’ toy to help keep hands busy and information on other free quitting help such as local Stop Smoking Services.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Alexander Alexander United Kingdom says:

    What an absolute load of crap!
    whoever came up with this statistic needs a new job.  everyone is aware of the risks.  the only way you couldn't be aware of the risks would be if you were severely mentally retarded and had just timetraveled from 1812

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