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Smoking facts

In Scotland over 13,000 people die every year from tobacco use; the equivalent of 250 a week or 35 a day.

Source: Callum C (1998).
The UK Smoking Epidemic: Deaths in 1995
[Health Education Authority]

Around 106,000 people in the UK are killed by smoking every year, accounting for one fifth of all UK deaths.

Source: Peto, R et al.
Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2000 (second edition)

Smoking is the main cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). 80% of deaths from the disease are attributed to smoking. In 2002, 23,878 people in the UK died from COPD as a result of smoking.

Source: Mortality Statistics 2002
[Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland, Registrar General for Northern Ireland]

Lung cancer kills more people than any other type of cancer and around 90% of deaths are caused by smoking. Around 33,600 people die from lung cancer in the UK each year.

Source: CancerStats: Mortality – UK
[Cancer Research UK 2002]

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including tar, nicotine, benzene, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide.

Source: Respiratory health effects of passive smoking
[US Environmental Protection Agency 1992]
(The EPA classifies tobacco smoke as a known human carcinogen)]

Deaths caused by smoking in the UK were five times higher than the total of those arising from traffic accidents, poisoning and overdoes, alcoholic liver disease, other accidentally deaths, murder, manslaughter and suicide during 2002.

Source: Mortality statistics 2002
[Office for National Statistics. General Register Office for Scotland. Registrar General Northern Ireland]

The average smoker will lose about 10 years of life because of their smoking.

Source: Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, Sutherland I
Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors
[British Medical Journal 2004]

In Britain in 2002, 68% of all adult smokers said they would like to give up smoking altogether.

Source: Living in Britain: Results from the 2002 General Household Survey 2002
[National Statistics]

Within a year of stopping smoking risk of heart attack falls to about half that of a continuing smoker, and within 10 years risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

Source: The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation
[US Surgeon General 1990]

  • 82% of respondents to consultation feel that further action is needed to reduce exposure to second hand smoke in Scotland.

  • 80% said they would support a law making enclosed public places in Scotland smoke free.

  • 56% said there should be no exemptions if a law was introduced in Scotland.

Source: Analysis of responses (53,474) to a public consultation on reducing exposure to tobacco smoke
[Scottish Executive December 2004]

30 minutes exposure to second hand smoke is sufficient to reduce coronary blood flow in otherwise healthy adults.

Source: Otsuka, R.
Acute effects of passive smoking on the coronary circulation of healthy young adults
[Journal of the American Medical Association 2001]

Non-smokers exposed to passive smoking in the home have a 25% increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer.

Source: Law, MR et al.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke exposure and ischaemic heart disease: an evaluation of the evidence
[British Medical Journal 1997]

Passive smoking can be a cause of lung cancer and ischaemic heart disease in adult non-smokers, and a cause of respiratory disease, cot death, middle ear disease and asthmatic attacks in children.

Source: Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health
[Department of Health 1998 and 2004]

Blood cotinine levels among non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke are associated with a 50%-60% increased risk of heart disease.

Source: Whincup, P et al.
Passive smoking and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke; prospective study with cotinine measurement
British Medical Journal, June 2004]

Around 120,000 men in the UK are impotent as a result of smoking. Smoking increases the risk of impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s.

Source: Warning; Smoking causes male sexual impotence
[Action on Smoking and Health, British Medical Association 1999]

Female smokers’ chances of conceiving fall by 10%-40% per menstrual cycle.

Source: Curtis KM, Savitz DA & Arbuckle TE.
Effects of cigarette smoking, caffeine consumption, and alcohol intake on fecundability
[American Journal of Epidemiology 1997]

Women who smoke during pregnancy:

  • Have a 27% higher chance of a miscarriage
  • Increase by 33% the risk of perinatal mortality
  • Are twice as likely to experience premature labour
  • Are three times more likely to have a low birthweight baby (on average 200gms or around 7oz lighter on average)
  • Are more likely to have children who suffer breathlessness and wheezing in the first six months of their life.

Source: West R.
Smoking cessation and pregnancy
[Fetal and Maternal Medicine Review 2002]

Men who smoke have a lower sperm count than non-smokers, and their semen contains a higher proportion of malformed sperm.

Source: Sofikitis N et al.
Effects of nicotine on sperm mobility, membrane function and fertilizing capacity in vitro
[Urological Research 2000]

Smoking is a causal factor in cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide.

Source: Simons AM et al.
Damage to DNA in cervical epithelium related to smoking tobacco [British Medical Journal 1993/ Yang X et al International Journal of cancer 1996]

Exposure to second-hand smoke – passive smoking or Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) – is associated with:

  • Acute respiratory illness in early childhood
  • Chronic cough, phlegm, and wheeze in children
  • Chronic middle ear effusions in children
  • Reduced levels and growth of lung function in children
  • Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Increased bronchial hyper-responsiveness in asthmatics
  • Increased lung symptoms in asthmatics
  • Decreased lung function in asthmatics
  • Irritation to the eyes, nose, throat
  • Increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease with long-term exposure

Source: Pechacek TF, Babb S.
How acute and reversible are the cardiovascular risks of second-hand smoke?
[British Medical Journal 2004]

42% of children in the UK live in a home where at least one person smokes.

Source: General Household Survey 1998
[Office for National Statistics]

In houses where both parents smoke, young children have a 72% increased risk of respiratory illnesses.

Source: Strachan DP and Cook DG.
Parental smoking and lower respiratory illness in infancy and early childhood
[Thorax 1997]

More than 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital in the UK every year because of the effects of passive smoking.

Source: Smoking and the Young
[Royal College of Physicians 1992]

Children’s mental development – reading and reasoning skills – was affected even a low levels of smoke exposure.

Source: Yolton K et al.
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and cognitive ability among US children
[Abstracts Online May 2002]

Passive smoking is a cause of bronchitis, pneumonia, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, middle ear infection, cot death, and possibly cardiovascular and neurobiological impairment in children.

Source: International consultation on environmental tobacco smoke and child health
[World Health Organisation 1999]

Advice on Quitting

Smokeline Scotland
Call 0800 848484
12 noon to 12 midnight, seven days a week.