Halton smokers are twice as likely to die of a stroke, warn health chiefs

Runcorn and Widnes World: Smokers in Halton twice as likely to die of a stroke, warn health chiefs Smokers in Halton twice as likely to die of a stroke, warn health chiefs

SMOKERS in Halton are twice as likely to die of a stroke than people who don’t light up, new research has revealed.

A harrowing new TV campaign is being launched today to highlight the impact and serious damage that smoking causes the body.

It brings to life the toxic cycle of dirty blood caused by inhaling the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes, including arsenic and cyanide flowing through the body and damaging major organs.

The chemicals move through the heart, the lungs and into the bloodstream, finally damaging cells in the brain.

Almost a quarter of adults in Halton still smoke. It is the third highest rate in Cheshire and Merseyside, behind Liverpool and Knowsley.

Matthew Ashton, tobacco lead for Cheshire and Merseyside and a director of public health, said: “We know about the serious effect smoking has on the heart and lungs but smokers need to be aware of how much potential damage is being done to the brain and other vital organs through toxins in cigarettes entering the blood.

“Smoking is the major cause of premature death, with one in two smokers dying prematurely from smoking related diseases, and it is extremely worrying that people still underestimate the health harms associated with it.

“However, it is not all doom and gloom for smokers looking to quit this New Year.

“Within five years of stopping smoking, your risk of stroke can be reduced to the same as a lifetime non-smoker.”

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke than non-smokers.

Smoking can cause the arteries to narrow which, in turn, increases the likelihood of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

The risk of dementia along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are further increased when smoking is combined with any or all of heavy drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise and high blood pressure.

Andrea Crossfield, chief executive of Tobacco Free Futures, said: “Addiction to tobacco is still Cheshire and Merseyside’s biggest killer, with half of all long term smokers dying from their dependence.

“People still underestimate the serious damage to health caused by smoking with the heart, lungs and brains affected.”

Anyone looking to quit can visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree for free support and advice.

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