Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and your blood pressure.
It’s not easy, but there is help available for free.
How does smoking affect your health and your blood pressure?
Each cigarette you smoke causes a temporary rise in blood pressure. Smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, where fat is laid down in your arteries walls, making the arteries narrower. It also makes your blood more likely to clot and forces your heart to work harder. These changes can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
High blood pressure also causes narrowing of the arteries. So if you have high blood pressure and you smoke, the process happens much faster, dramatically raising your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Smoking also has the more well-known effects on your lungs, stomach, mouth, throat and skin, causing cancer and pre-mature ageing, and can even effect your bones and your reproductive system.
How does stopping smoking help?
Kicking the habit brings health benefits straight away, no matter how long you’ve smoked for. You’ll lower your risk of disease, breathe more easily, feel fitter and be able to taste more.
Getting help to quit
You’re four times more likely to succeed in giving up smoking if you have support.
Your GP or practice nurse can help by referring you to a stop smoking adviser. They can help you with an action plan and talk to you about products that could curb your cravings such as e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and inhalers.
There are also free, local, Stop Smoking Services all around the country, where you can have face-to-face appointments or phone or online chat. They offer advice on products and Quit Kits, and provide mobile phone apps and email and text support.
Find out more online from NHS Smokefree or call the Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044, or visit your GP.