Avoid harmful substances

Key messages:

Stopping smoking at any age brings huge benefits.

Avoid drinking more than 14 units a week.

Alcohol has a significant impact on quality and quantity of sleep.

It's never too late to think about stopping smoking. It's one of the best things you can do for your health and will help you live longer, have more energy and breathe easier (it also saves a lot of money!)

There's a range of products available which can help people better cope with withdrawal symptoms.

If you stop smoking, it also benefits the health of those around you.

You will feel less stressed, have younger looking skin and whiter teeth.

If you stop smoking when you're pregnant, you will be protecting your baby from the harmful effects of smoking. There's also a local Stop Smoking Service available for pregnant women, which your GP or midwife can refer you to for additional support

Find out more and learn about support here.

Benefits of cutting down on alcohol:

If you reduce the amount you drink, there are a number of immediate benefits, including:

  • Feeling better in the morning
  • Being less tired during the day
  • Your skin may start to look better
  • Starting to feel fitter
  • A reduced calorie intake

Additional significant benefits include:


  • There’s a strong link between heavy drinking and depression with hangovers often making people feel anxious and low.  For those who already feel sad or anxious, drinking can make these feelings worse, so cutting down could help improve an individual's mood.


  • Drinking can affect people’s sleep and although it can sometimes help people to fall asleep more quickly, it disrupts their normal sleep pattern and prevents them from sleeping deeply.  If an individual cuts down on the amount they drink, it should help them feel more rested when they wake up.


  • Drinking can affect a person's judgement and behaviour, so they may become more irrational or aggressive when they're drunk.  It can also increase risk taking behaviour such as crime, anti-social / embarrassing behaviour or unprotected sexual activity.  Memory loss is also a problem associated with drinking, especially in the long term for regular heavy drinkers.  


  • Long term heavy drinking can lead to a person's heart becoming enlarged.  This is a serious condition which can’t be completely reversed, although stopping drinking can prevent it from getting worse. 

Immune system 

  • Regular drinking can affect people’s immune systems and heavy drinkers tend to catch more infectious diseases.

Find out more and learn about support on how to cut back here.