Stop smoking


Electronic cigarettes or ‘e-cigarettes’ are battery powered devices that are often designed to look and feel like regular cigarettes. They use cartridges filled with a liquid that can typically contain nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals. A heating device in the e-cigarette converts the liquid into a vapour, which the user inhales and this is known as vaping.

E-cigarettes and the law

Young people under the age of 18 are banned from buying e-cigarettes and e-liquids, unless the product has been licensed as a stop smoking medicine. It is also an offence for anyone over 18 to buy e-cigarettes and e-liquids on behalf of a young person – they could receive a fixed penalty notice of £90 and a fine of up to £2,500.

What’s in an e-cigarette?

  • Nicotine – A chemical which keeps you addicted. It is a poison and a pesticide. The amount of nicotine can vary between and within brands, from nicotine-free products through to high doses.
  • Propylene Glycol and Glycerin  Propylene glycol causes eye and lung irritation and when it is heated it can form propylene oxide, which is a carcinogen.
  • Flavourings – these are added to make the vapour taste nicer. Laboratory tests on e-cigarettes containing coffee, tobacco and cinnamon cookie flavours found them to be toxic and cause cell changes.
  • Formaldehyde - Some e-cigarettes have been found to contain formaldehyde which causes cancer.
  • Nitrosamines - which can cause cancer.
  • Heavy metals – which are toxic to the lungs and can cause cell changes

Are e-cigarettes harmful?

E-cigarettes are new products that haven’t been thoroughly researched in the UK, therefore their safety and the long-term effects of using them are not known. E-cigarettes don't produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke, so they are considered to be less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes. However, they are not harm-free – anyone using an e-cigarette still gets an unhealthy dose of nicotine and other chemicals. The short term side effects include mouth and throat irritation, coughing, headaches and feeling sick.

Shisha: Don't Get Hooked

You may be aware of the health messages relating to harm caused by smoking shisha but do you know the facts?

What's in shisha?

Shisha traditionally contains tobacco and the same toxic chemicals as cigarettes, many of which are harmful to your lungs and heart and can cause cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Just because it doesn’t taste like a cigarette, doesn’t mean that it is safer or better for your health. The tobacco is often sweetened and flavoured making it easy for people to think that it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, as people smoke shisha tobacco for much longer than they smoke a cigarette they can take in greater levels of tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine.

Smoking shisha in a closed environment such as a shisha café also has risks for non-smokers who are nearby. They also breathe in the second-hand smoke from the water pipe and the coals, which contains high levels of toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals and carcinogens. There has been a 210% increase in the number of Shisha bars across the UK in the last five years. Most shisha tobacco sold in the UK is considered to be illicit, in the sense that it is illegitimately imported and does not carry statutory health warnings or labels. Quitting shisha smoking is the best way to protect your health. For help, advice and support to quit shisha smoking contact your local stop smoking service.

We spoke to young people in Lancashire to get the facts about shisha. Are you in the know?


The chemicals released when you smoke a cigarette can make you short of breath and cause other problems, for example various cancers and heart and circulation problems.

Breathing in your smoke can cause health problems for other people too. If you’re pregnant it can be harmful to your baby both before and after birth. 

It is illegal to sell tobacco to children and young people under 18. If you are caught with cigarettes when you’re under 18, they can be taken from you by police and community support officers.

You may be lucky and able to control how much you smoke but many people become addicted to the nicotine in  tobacco and need more and more. It’s one of the hardest habits to kick. You can become irritable or even depressed. It may take several attempts before you finally stop.


Quitting cigarettes, shisha and e-cigarettes completely and being addiction-free is the best way to protect your health. We know that this isn’t easy but help is available. With support from a local stop smoking service you are four times more likely to quit than going it alone. They can help with one to one support and access to licensed stop smoking medicines that can be used to help to beat the cravings. These are available to young people aged 12 years and above and are free to under 16’s and those on benefits.

For help to quit smoking, shisha and vapes please contact your local service, Smokefree Lancashire on 0808 196 2638 or sign up online on the NHS Smokefree website to receive 28 days of free quitting advice and tips.

If you would like further information, get in touch with us for confidential information, advice and support.

Help: Smoking and Pregnancy

If you're pregnant and a smoker, it really is the perfect time to stop smoking. It’s good for you, it's good for your baby and it’s a great way to save money.

Stop smoking services help hundreds of women, just like you, to kick the habit. Advisors will chat to you about your smoking and work out the best plan for you. This could include free nicotine replacement if you need it and as much, or as little ongoing support as you want. 

To find out more go to visit the NHS stop smoking in pregnancy page.