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The Impact of Smoking on Your Health

No matter how little or often you smoke, it is dangerous for your health and can have a significant impact on your entire body.

No matter how little or often you smoke, it is dangerous for your health and can have a significant impact on your entire body. There are both short and long term benefits to quitting smoking; and since smoking affects every body system, finding a way to quit is the most important step you can take to living a longer and happier life.

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for more than 80,000 deaths each year. It is important to understand exactly how smoking is damaging your body and once you’ve got an understanding of exactly what is going on beneath the surface, you are much more likely to stop.


As a smoker, you are much more likely to suffer from a stroke than a non-smoker- 50% more likely in fact. Smoking can increase your chances of developing an aneurysm, a bulge in the blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall. These can burst or rupture, leading to a serious health condition which can cause brain damage and even death.

However, after just 2 years of quitting smoking, your chances of a stroke is significantly reduced.


Smoking has a significant effect on the functionality of your lungs. Coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma are just a few of the smoking-related health problems, as well as cancer, emphysema and pneumonia. Smoking can cause narrowing in your lungs’ pathways and can destroy the surrounding tissue. Smoking can cause increased breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.


There are more obvious health impacts with smoking, and most of those are visible on a smokers’ skin, hair and nails. Substances in tobacco smoke can change the structure of your skin and can even increase the risk of skin cancer. Your fingernails and toenails aren’t immune from the effects of smoking either, as it can also increase the chances of nail infections and discolouration too.
Hair is also affected by nicotine and can increase the chances of hair loss, balding and greying. However, once you quit smoking, you will prevent further deterioration to your skin, nails and hair and you will start to feel much better in yourself.

Although these health impacts can appear extremely daunting, it’s never too later to ask for help and quit smoking for good. There are plenty of non-prescription and prescription medications that can help you quit and you can also talk to our LiveWell advisors for help and support.

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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When you register with LiveWell Dorset, we ask you some questions about you and your health (how much you smoke, how active you are, how much you drink and how much you weigh). We store that information and use it to shape our service offer to you – such as the advice we give or the extra services we connect you to. The only people who will see this information will be those involved in the delivery of the service and management of the data. If you would like to use extra services (such as slimming clubs and pharmacies) we have to share this information with them. For us to be able to put you in touch with these services, we must have your consent to share that information with the service (we’ll ask for that later, when if you sign up for extra services).

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