Smoking Hazards and Cessation
Ingredients of a Cigarette
  • There are more than 7000 kinds of chemicals in a single cigarette and at least 69 of them carcinogenic.
    • 3 Major ingredients are Nicotine, Tar, and Carbon Monoxide. Their undesirable effects are:
      • Nicotine 
        • Increases arousal and is highly addictive
        • Increases blood pressure, and thus the risk of various cardiovascular diseases
      • Tar
        • It is the major carcinogen in a cigarette, can cause various kinds of cancers such as oral cancer, throat cancer, and lung cancer
        • Intervenes the gas exchange process in lungs and causes rough breathing
        • Causes yellowish discolouration to skin, fingernails and teeth
      • Carbon Monoxide
        • It is a colourless, odorless and toxic gas produced when a cigarette is burned
        • Impairs the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood, leading to hypoxia of different organs
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Hazards of Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette Smoking leads to various illnesses, including:

CancersThroat Cancer, Oesophageal Cancer, Lung Cancer
Cardiovascular DiseasesHeart Disease, Stroke, Atherosclerosis
Respiratory DiseasesPneumonia, Respiratory Tract Infection, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Otherse.g. Osteoporosis, Gastric Ulcer, Skin Aging, Periodontal Diseases
Smoking and Women
  • Smoking accelerates the aging of skin and stains your nails and teeth
  • Smoking leads to early menopause
  • Smoking causes irregular menstruation and painful menstrual periods
  • Smoking reduces the reproductive ability of women by 25% and may cause infertility
  • Female smokers have a higher chance of having cervical cancer and osteoporosis
  • Smoking is especially harmful to pregnant women.
    • To mother:
      • 10 times more likely to have miscarriage
    • To baby:
      • 3 Times more likely to have Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
      • A higher chance of having cleft lip and cleft palate, asthma, and respiratory infections
      • Smoking during pregnancy affects infants’ physical and intellectual development.
Smoking and Men
  • Smoking increases the chance of erectile dysfunction
  • Men who smoke are 2 times more likely to become bald compared with their non-smoker counterparts
  • Smoking impairs male’s ability to produce normal sperms
What is second-hand smoke?
  • Second-hand smoke is a combination of mainstream smoke (i.e. the smoke that smoker inhales and then exhales) and side-stream smoke (i.e. the smoke that emits from the end of a lit cigarette)
  • Second-hand smoke is classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "Group A carcinogen" and there isn’t a risk-free level of exposure. In addition, no ventilation systems can eliminate the risk of second-hand smoke exposure. The toxic residues of the smoke can remain indoor for 3 hours and even longer.


Adverse effects on Adults

CancersLung Cancer, Nasopharyngeal Cancer, Breast Cancer
Cardiovascular DiseasesHeart Disease, Stroke, Atherosclerosis
Respiratory DiseasesPneumonia, Lower Respiratory Tract Infection, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Nose Irritation
Reproductive SystemInfertility, Miscarriage, Preterm Delivery

Adverse effects on Children

CancersLeukemia, Brain Tumor
Respiratory DiseasesPneumonia, Otitis Media, Impaired lung function, Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
Fetus DevelopmentLow-birth-weight Infant, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
What is third-hand smoke?
  • Third-hand smoke refers to the chemical residues of cigarette smoke that are attached onto clothing, walls, furniture, carpet, and even skin and hair. The toxic residues can stay on the surfaces for weeks and even for months.
  • Third-hand smoke contains many toxins, such as hydrocyanic acid (used in chemical weapons), butane (used in lighter fluid), toluene (used in paint thinners), arsenic, lead, carbon monoxide, and even polonium-210 (a highly radioactive carcinogen).
  • Only acidic cleaner can remove residual nicotine. However, as most of the soaps and detergents in the market are alkaline, it is difficult to remove third-hand smoke.
  • Infants and toddlers are full of curiosity. They like crawling on the floor and put objects into their mouths. Thus, they are especially vulnerable to third-hand smoke.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
20 minutes laterBlood pressure, heart rate and pulse restored to the level before the last cigarette
12 hours laterThe CO level in blood drops to normal range
48 hours laterSense of smell and taste restored
2-12 weeks laterCirculation and lung function improved
1-9 months laterCoughing and shortness of breath reduced
1 year laterRisk of Coronary Heart Diseases is 50% lower than smokers’
5 years laterThe mortality rate of lung cancer is 50% lower than usual smokers’
10 years laterRisk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases
15 years laterRisk of Coronary Heart Diseases is same as non-smokers’
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Quitting Preparation
  • Identify your reason(s) to quit (e.g. health, planning to have baby)
  • Set a quit day (e.g. you or your loved ones’ birthday, anniversary)
  • Be determined and tell your family and friends about your decision
  • Avoid smoking triggers (e.g. avoid staying at places where people smoke)
    • Before the quit day, gradually reduce the no. of cigarette per day. Reduction methods could be:
      • Time-based (e.g. I won’t smoke during lunch break)
      • Location-based (e.g. I won’t smoke at home)
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Quitting Tips
  • Starting from your quit day, throw away all the cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters
  • As nicotine is highly addictive, the withdrawal process is not pleasant. Withdrawal symptoms include feeling tired, cough, cigarette craving and insomnia. Fortunately, most withdrawal symptoms will slowly fade out after the first week of quitting
    • When tobacco craving occurs,
      • 本頁圖片/檔案 - count silently from 1 to 10, and remind yourself the benefit of quitting
      • Distraction: wash your face, have some snacks, listen to music, chat with friends
      • Deep Breath: take a few deep breaths can relief pressure and boost your concentration
      • Drink Water: try to put a few pieces of lemon in warm water, it can give you a refreshing feeling
    • When someone invites you to smoke,
      • Say in a determined and firm voice, “No thanks, I quitted”
      • Find a reason to leave
    • Have a Balanced Diet
      • Avoid drinking, as alcohol might lower your self-control ability
      • Avoid consuming caffeine, as it may elicit your tobacco craving
      • Your sense of taste and smell will recover after you quit, and your appetite will improve. Avoid eating too much
      • Eat at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables every day
    • Reorganize your living style
      • Have regular exercise and enough sleep everyday
      • Cultivate new interests and habits
      • Avoid staying at places where people smoke
    • Stay Optimistic
      • Being optimistic is a choice
      • Handle your stress properly, cigarette is not a way out
    • Reward yourself
      •  Save the money you used to buy cigarettes and buy yourself a gift later
Other Smoking Cessation Services in Hong Kong and related Websites
Department of HealthIntegrated Smoking Cessation Hotline:1833 183

The Tobacco Control Office

of the Department of Health

Tobacco Control Office, Department of Health, 11/F, AIA Hong Kong Tower, 734- 738 King's Road, North Point, Hong Kong (Exit C of MTR Quarry Bay Station) 

Tel: (852) 2961 8823

WISE - Smoking Cessation Program for Women in Workplace

4/F, 61 Lung Kong Road, Kowloon City

Tel:(852) 2272 9828


Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Integrated Centre on Smoking Cessation

Tel:(852) 2332 8977

Fax:2827 2628


Council on Smoking and Health

Unit 4402-03, 44/F, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tel:(852) 2838 8822

Fax:(852) 2575 3966


Youth Quitline (The University of Hong Kong)

Tel:(852) 2855 9557


Pok Oi Smoking Cessation Service using Traditional Chinese Medicine

Tel:(852) 2607 1222


Smoking Cessation Project for Ethnic Minorities and New Immigrants

Tel:(852) 3156 9012 / 2344 3019