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North Yorkshire Smokers Warned Of Health Risks


6:01am 4th January 2014

People in North Yorkshire are being warned about the dangers of smoking. Public Health England say that smokers are twice as likely to die of a stroke. According to Public Health England's figures around one in five people in York and North Yorkshire smoke.

Public Health England is launching a new Smokefree Health Harms campaign highlighting the impact and serious damage that smoking causes the body.

The new campaign, supported by TV advertising, brings to life the toxic cycle of dirty blood caused by inhaling the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes, including arsenic and cyanide flowing through the body and damaging major organs. The chemicals move through the heart, the lungs and into the bloodstream, finally damaging cells in the brain.

Along with the heart and lungs, the brain is particularly vulnerable to these toxins, leading to a faster decline in functionality and an increased risk of stroke and dementia, say Public Health England.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke than non-smokers. Smoking can cause the arteries to narrow which, in turn, increases the likelihood of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

Public Health England also say that studies also suggest that smoking accelerates cognitive decline in men and women leading smokers to experience poorer memory and a greater decline in reasoning in later life.

The risk of dementia, along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are further increased when smoking is combined with any or all of heavy drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise and high blood pressure.

Anyone looking to quit can visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree to receive free support tools and find details of where they can get professional advice through their local NHS stop smoking service.

Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber Centre Director Dr Stephen Morton said:

“We know about the serious effect smoking has on the heart and lungs but smokers need to be aware of how much potential damage is being done to the brain and other vital organs through toxins in cigarettes entering the blood.

“Smoking is the major cause of premature death, with one in two smokers dying prematurely from smoking related diseases, and it is extremely worrying that people still underestimate the health harms associated with it.

“However, it is not all doom and gloom for smokers looking to quit this New Year.  Within five years of stopping smoking, your risk of stroke can be reduced to the same as a lifetime non-smoker.” 

Joe Korner, Director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association, said:

“It is well known that smoking harms our health but the link between smoking and stroke is less well known. Stroke is a major cause of death and adult disability in the UK and you are twice as likely to have a stroke if you smoke. The more you smoke, the more your risk increases.

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke; after five years of giving up, your risk of stroke can be reduced to that of a non-smoker. We welcome the NHS Smokefree Health Harms campaign to tackle this serious issue.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England nationally, said:

“More than eight million people smoke in England, and with half of long-term smokers dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease, highlighting the unseen damaging effect smoking has on the body’s major organs provides a real motivation for people to stop.

“As well as the impact smoking has on the brain, smokers are also more likely to have a stroke, so this hard-hitting campaign will, I hope, help smokers consider quitting.  There is a wealth of health and personal benefits available to those who successfully stop and help can be sought through the full range of Smokefree support, which includes face-to-face advice, Smokefree app, Quit Kit, plus email and text programmes.”

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