Smoking and drinking

Will you quit this Stoptober?

You are twice as likely to have a stroke if you smoke.

Smoking causes your arteries to fur up and makes a blood clot more likely. Smokers are also more likely to develop high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke.

The more you smoke, the more this risk increases. So stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.

Stoptober 2014

Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign is back for its third year – encouraging the nation’s 8 million smokers to stop smoking for 28 days. If you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stay quit. You will begin to experience financial, physical and health benefits including a better sense of taste and smell and a reduced risk of stroke, lung cancer and heart disease.

Watch the Stoptober promotional film on YouTube.

For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind this October, search “Stoptober” online or visit the Stoptober website.


Quit smoking - there are many ways to get help with quitting

Many smokers want to quit but aren’t sure how or where to start. You don’t have to go it alone. There are many support services available to make it easier.

NHS Stop Smoking Services offer support:

  • Trained advisers
  • Group and individual sessions
  • Information on giving up, aids to help you, valuable support from others

If you find it difficult to attend, you can still benefit from the wealth of advice and information that these services provide. Find your local service by clicking below:

Other tips to help you quit

  • Set a date to quit and try to stick to it
  • Write down and remember all the reasons why you want to quit
  • Seek help and support
  • Combat your cravings – go for a walk, chat to a friend, doodle, drink a glass of water
  • Stay positive!

Stubbed out cigarette

The NHS Smokefree Helpline can help you discuss the different ways you can give up. Their helpline opening hours are Monday-Friday 9am–8pm and Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm. Call Smokefree on 0800 022 4 332.

The NHS helpline for Scotland is Smokeline, 0800 84 84 84, open seven days a week 8am-10pm. The website is www.canstopsmoking.com


Drinking too much alcohol can also increase your blood pressure

Binge drinking (more than six units of alcohol within six hours) in particular can cause your blood pressure to increase rapidly which greatly increases the risk of a stroke. 

  • Don’t drink every day or exceed the recommended limits.
    Alcohol
  • Women should not drink more than two to three units of alcohol a day (if you are pregnant, you should not drink at all).
  • Men should have no more than three to four units a day.

A unit of alcohol is a small glass of wine, a single measure of spirits or half a pint of weak beer or lager.


Read our factsheets on smoking and alcohol for more information tips to help you and other organisations that offer more specific support.

Read our publications:

Smoking and the risk of stroke

Alcohol and stroke

Useful organisations:

Smokefree campaign

Stop smoking Wales

Quit

Alcohol Concern

Alcohol Focus Scotland

Drinkaware

UK Drug Rehab