Smoking and Mental Health

 Smoking prevalence is significantly higher among people with mental health problems than it is among the general population.


Cigarette smoking is linked with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses, including anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic disorder, but especially with depression.


25% of the population smoke.

75% of people with a severe mental health problem smoke.

People with mental health problems are ten times more likely to die from respiratory failure.



  • 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
  • 1 hour, the body starts to get rid of tobacco toxins.
  • 8 hours, the level of carbon monoxide and nicotine in the blood will halve.
  • 24 hours, carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body; the lungs start to clear; the chance of a heart attack starts to decrease.
  • 48 hours, there is no nicotine left in the body; taste and smell start to improve; nerve endings start to re-grow; walking becomes easier.
  • 72 hours, breathing becomes easier; energy levels increase.
  • 2-12 weeks, circulation improves; lung function increases; running becomes easier.
  • 3-9 months, significant decreases in the following: coughing; sinus congestion; tiredness; shortness of breath; chest infections. Lung function increases by up to 10%.
  • 1 year, the risk of heart attack falls to half that of a smoker.
  • 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is halved; the longer you go without smoking, the lower the risk.
  • 15 years, risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.



  • Better all-round health: smoking cessation reduces the risk of fifty illnesses and conditions.
  • Heart attack risk drops to the same as a non-smoker, three years after quitting! Cancer risk drops with every year of not smoking.
  • Living longer and staying well: one in two long term smokers will lose about 16 years of life.
  • Be a positive role model! Set a good example to children and young people.
  • Improve fitness and breathing; be better at sport; find it easier to go up the stairs.
  • Food and drink taste better to people who don’t smoke.
  • Better chance of having a healthy baby.
    Better skin and complexion; no early wrinkles!
  • Fresher-smelling breath, hair and clothes; no more cigarette smell around the house.
  • Work will be easier; far less time spent outside, or in the smoking room, when you could be getting on with work.
  • Travelling on trains, aircraft and buses will be easier: no more desperate searches for safe smoking areas.
  • Stop making the tobacco companies rich.
  • Having money to spend on other things. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day can cost ¬£1,400 per year.


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