You are twice as likely to die from stroke if you smoke. So stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke.


Smoking damages your arteries and makes your blood more likely to clot. Smokers are also more likely to develop high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke.
Stopping smoking will reduce your risk of a stroke (and other health conditions) – no matter how old you are or how long you have smoked. 
Giving up is not easy, but it is worth the effort to improve your health. 

Watch this video from Public Health England about the damage smoking does to your body

Other forms of tobacco

Some people assume that other ways of using tobacco are healthier than smoking cigarettes. But they are also harmful to your health. 
Studies have shown that people who use gutka, qimam, paan or naswar (sometimes known as ‘smokeless tobacco’) are more likely to die from a stroke than people who don’t.
Other products like bidi and shisha also include tobacco, so if you smoke these you are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, including stroke. The World Health Organisation has shown that in one session of using shisha you can inhale as much smoke as if you smoked 100-200 cigarettes.
The nicotine in tobacco is very addictive so giving up is not always easy, but there is a lot of support out there to help you do it.

How do I quit?

Many smokers want to quit but aren’t sure how or where to start. However, you don’t have to do it alone. 
The NHS has Stop Smoking Services all over the country. You should be able to find one in your area. These services can give you advice about:
  • the best way to give up
  • aids (like nicotine replacement products) or medication that could help you
  • getting support, such as support groups that may run in your area.

To find your local Stop Smoking Service call the NHS Smokefree Helpline on 0800 022 4332 or visit

The NHS helpline for Scotland is Smokeline. Call them on 0800 84 84 84 or visit

Find out more

There’s more information about stopping smoking, including tips to help you quit, in our leaflet Smoking and the risk of stroke.