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Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals that enter your lungs and go straight into your bloodstream and body tissues, every time you smoke. This increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the lining of your the arteries that supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood, leading to the build-up of fatty material in the arteries, which may block or narrow them. This is known as (coronary heart disease). In time, the arteries may become so narrow that they cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle – this can cause a pain or discomfort in your chest (angina).

The chemicals in tobacco smoke also make the small particles in your blood (platelets) stickier making the blood more likely to form clots, which can block the arteries and cause a heart attack or a stroke.

Smokers have a greater risk of having a heart attack than non-smokers.

Most people know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health, but other types of smoking or tobacco use are also harmful…


Shisha smoking is harmful. Recent research highlights that the smoke from a water pipe contains high levels of chemicals including carbon monoxide even after it has been passed through water. An average shisha-smoking session lasts an hour and research has shown that in this time you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from over 100 cigarettes.


Smoking cannabis has been linked to lung diseases including lung cancer. It can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which is harmful for people with heart disease. By mixing cannabis with tobacco, you also take on all the risks associated with smoking tobacco.

‘Light’, ‘mild’ or ‘low-tar’ cigarettes

According to studies, the health risk from smoking ‘light’, ‘mild’ or ‘low-tar’ cigarettes may be almost the same as for ordinary cigarettes.

Roll-up cigarettes

Smoking roll-up cigarettes can result in the same health risks as smoking commercially produced cigarettes, including cancer, stroke, heart and lung disease.

Chewing tobacco (dry or moist) and nasal snuff

Using smokeless tobacco increases your risk of mouth cancer, throat cancer and cancer of the oesophagus. Some studies suggest that people who use smokeless tobacco have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases (such as coronary heart disease or stroke) than people who have never smoked.

Cigar/pipe smoking

Cigar and pipe smoking have been shown to be harmful to health. Compared with people who had never smoked, pipe/cigar smokers have a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

Are you ready to quit?

The key to quitting successfully is choosing a ‘quit method’ that is right for you and planning how you are going to deal with any ‘triggers’ or temptations to smoke. Research shows that you are twice as likely to give up if you use nicotine replacement therapy or medication. You are alsoup to 4 times more likely to successfully quit with support; consider contacting the GHA Smoke Cessation Service on 200 52441 or discuss with your GP at the Primary Care Centre.


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