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Taking the first steps

Why is cigarette smoking addictive?

Nicotine is present in tobacco. When nicotine enters the body it triggers pleasure receptors in the brain. Your brain links smoking with feeling good. As more nicotine enters the body more receptors are created.

What happens when you don’t have a cigarette?

The empty nicotine receptors lead to increased craving and withdrawal symptoms. The brains natural response is to manage this by stimulating you to have a cigarette. This biological pathway is the reason why it is so hard to stop smoking with “will power” alone, although it plays an important part.

Why is smoking harmful/ why do healthcare professionals keep advising me to stop?

  • Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of chemicals and many of these are known to be toxic to the human body.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease, killing approximately 80 000 people in England every year.
  • The chemicals contained within cigarette smoke cause multiple different cancers and illnesses affecting virtually every organ in the body.
  • Smoking affects the health of the smoker as well as the people around them - think of your loved ones. 

Why get help to stop?

You are four times more likely to quit with the help of stop smoking services.

Nicotine may be addictive but it isn’t harmful. Appropriate nicotine replacement (NRT) avoids the withdrawal symptoms without the risks.

NRT is recommended and prescribed for people who smoke and are admitted to the Trust. This is to avoid withdrawal and/or support long term cessation.

Electronic cigarettes

The long term health effects are currently unknown but are felt to be safer than cigarettes. With this in mind non-smokers are advised not to commence using them and the Trust allows electronic cigarettes to be used on site but only outdoors.

How do you access stop smoking services?

City of York: Yorwellbeing
01904 553 377

East Riding of Yorkshire: Your Health Trainers
0800 9177752 or text QUIT to 60163

North Yorkshire County Council: Living Well Smokefree
01609 797 272

NHS Smokefree website
The site allows you to search for services using a postcode and is useful for people resident elsewhere.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease, killing approximately 80 000 people in England every year - more than the capacity at Old Trafford stadium.


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Coronavirus - useful information

The latest health information about Coronavirus can be found at

Information and updates about our services can be found on this website here.

From Monday 15 June 2020, visitors and outpatients coming into our hospitals will be asked to wear a face covering at all times, to help us reduce the spread of Covid-19.  A face covering can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.  It should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.  For more information click here