Farming for tobacco is responsible for five per cent of deforestation in the developing world. Picture: Mathew MacQuarrie
Farming for tobacco is responsible for five per cent of deforestation in the developing world. Picture: Mathew MacQuarrie

Could this surprising alpaca fact encourage you to quit smoking?

You probably already know smoking is bad for you, but have you ever really thought about the benefits of quitting? Here’s our top six reasons to stop – and some of them might surprise you.

1. It’s all about the money, money, money

Smoking isn’t just bad you’re your health, it’s terrible for your wallet. A 10-a-day habit will cost you £1,898 per year. If you stopped and saved the cash instead, you could:

  • Fly yourself and a friend to the Maldives and still have more than £400 left for ice cream, cocktails and postcards
  • Buy a trained adult alpaca in a colour of your choice (brown, black or cream, mostly). Alpacas are friendly, easy to care for and can replace your lawnmower if you’ve got space for one in your garden!
  • Save up for a deposit on a house. Not as exciting as your own alpaca, but definitely a better investment

Seriously though, get the alpaca. Have you seen these furry little guys?

Two brown alpacas. Picture: Jen MacHarg.

2. Captain Planet, he’s our hero

Farming for tobacco is terrible for the planet. It’s responsible for five per cent of deforestation in the developing world. Every year, 750 square miles of rainforest disappear so tobacco can be farmed. If the rainforests die, the planet dies. Remember Fern Gully?

3. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before

We know the message that smoking is bad for you gets tiring. We get tired of repeating it. We know you’ve heard it before. But we’re going to keep doing it until everyone stops. Because every month in Hull, 40 people die of conditions directly related to smoking. That’s 40 people who didn’t need to die. It adds up to thousands of grieving families and friends every year.

4. May the odds be ever in your favour

Unfortunately, if you choose to smoke, the odds are very much not in your favour. One in two smokers will die from a condition related to smoking. Half of you. Those are great odds if you’re playing the lottery, they’re appalling if you’re gambling on your life. The thing that kills you could be COPD or heart disease or any one of around 61 different cancers. It’s not just that it could be you. There’s a one in two chance it will be you.

5. The picture of Dorian Gray

Got an Instagram post in your attic that’s doing all your ageing for you? Let’s assume not, but also take a moment to reflect on how neatly we updated this 1900s literary reference. Smoking ages you. And while we’ve thankfully reached a point where we’re accepting and embracing normal signs of ageing and consigning digitally created eternal youth to the recycling bin icon, it’s still good to take care of your skin. Smoking decreases blood flow to all areas and prematurely ages not just your face, but other delicate parts of your body. Narrowing blood vessels mean less essential vitamin A and oxygen reaches your skin, while the 4,000 chemicals in each cigarette damage the collagen and elastin that give skin it’s strength and elasticity. Over time, it leads to sagging and wrinkling that no amount of Facetune is going to undo.

6. Get by with a little help

We know most of you already know all this – we know most smokers would like to quit. We also know it’s hard and it takes time to reach the decision to stop. When you do, you’re four times more likely to quit successfully if you have the right support.

Visit www.smokefreehull.co.uk to find out more about support in Hull or text QUIT to 61825 to get support now.

If we can’t convince you it’s wort it, watch this short video of Alison, from a Hull trawler family. Alison smoked for 47 years after starting at age 12, and only quit when she developed COPD. Watch her story below.

Safer Internet Day 2019 has been designed to highlight positive uses of technology to create a safer online community. Picture by John Schnobrich.