Why should you quit smoking?

Contents

Why Should I Quit Smoking?

  • PREPARE: You need a little time before you quit –14 to 30 days is usually optimal – to prime your mind and body for success.
  • QUIT: Anti-craving drugs and/or nicotine replacement therapy will lessen your urge to smoke. Resources are available to help you on your journey to a tobacco-free life.
  • RELAPSE PREVENTION: Develop the ability to identify situations that may cause you to slip and learn new skills to prevent relapse.
  • STRESS MANAGEMENT: Find alternatives to reaching for tobacco to cope with stress. Tobacco actually INCREASES the stress on your body – it increases heart rate, blood pressure, and constricts blood vessels, making your heart, kidneys, and other vital organs work harder.

Being ready and wanting to quit is the most important part. You need to decide to give yourself the most precious gift a smoker can give to him or herself – a gift of life, health, and self-esteem – by becoming a nonsmoker. Treatment costs less than a pack of cigarettes a day, and varies based on the personalized plan developed for each individual and his or her ability to pay.

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5 Great Reasons to Quit Smoking

Why should you stop smoking? That’s the question that kicks off every attempt at smoking cessation. Here are five overwhelming reasons to quit smoking for good.

  1. You’ll Live Longer if You Quit Smoking

    To quit smoking is to literally gain a new lease on life. “There’s no single thing you can do to your body on a regular basis that’s as negative as smoking,” says Thomas Glynn, PhD, director of cancer science and trends and international cancer control for the American Cancer Society. “The Surgeon General said it causes damage to nearly every organ in your body.”

    About half of all smokers who continue with their habit will die of a smoking-related disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Cancer is the biggie, of course; smoking is linked to 15 forms of cancer. Then there’s lung disease, heart disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life due to smoking, while female smokers lose an average of 14.5 years of life.

    Don’t fall for the old dodge that it’s too late to quit smoking because “the damage is already done.” “There’s a lot of data to suggest that quitting at any age is positive for your health,” Glynn says. People who quit smoking at age 50 cut their odds of dying during the next 15 years in half.

  2. You’ll Be Protecting Family and Friends if You Quit Smoking

    Smokers aren’t just taking themselves down. They’re also harming everyone exposed to their smoke.

    Says Glynn, “Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 people a year and sickens many more, particularly children.” In fact, a recent study found that pregnant women who live or work with smokers had a higher risk of stillbirth than those who weren’t in close contact with smokers, suggesting that exposure to tobacco smoke can harm even unborn babies. Experts speculate that the chemicals in cigarettes may harm the fetus by restricting blood flow and possibly damaging the placenta.

    Secondhand smoke contains all the same carcinogens found in the smoke that’s been inhaled into your lungs. Infants and children in smokers’ homes suffer more colds, bronchitis, ear infections, and other lung and breathing problems than kids in smoke-free homes.

  3. Your Body Can Start to Repair Itself When You Quit Smoking

    Your body starts repairing itself within hours after that last cigarette. “You start getting your strength back within a week to 10 days after you quit,” Glyn says. “You also get back your sense of smell and taste. ” Your heart rate and blood pressure drops almost immediately, and within weeks your circulation and ability to breathe improve dramatically.

    You’ll also look better. Smoking prematurely ages the skin, causing wrinkles. Smoking stains your teeth, fingers, and fingernails, and causes bad breath.

  4. People Will Like You More if You Quit Smoking

    Smoking is much less socially acceptable these days. Nearly all workplaces ban smoking from buildings. Some landlords don’t rent to smokers, due to higher maintenance costs and more expensive insurance rates. Most public events are now smoke-free, and more states and communities are enacting laws to ban smoking from all indoor public places, including bars and restaurants.

    A survey of current and former New York City smokers found that 81 percent agreed that most folks wouldn’t hire a smoker to care for their children, 72 percent thought non-smokers would be reluctant to date a smoker, and 39 percent believe most people think less of smokers.

  5. You’ll Be Saving Money

    Smoking is a very expensive habit. “The average smoker spends about $2,200 a year on tobacco use,” Glynn says. Just add up all the money you’re spending on a day’s worth of smokes, then multiply that by 365. Don’t forget to figure in higher health and life insurance rates, as well as higher health care costs down the line when your habit catches up with you.

    Your health, your family, your finances — what reason could you possibly have not to quit?

Return to Women’s Health Awareness.

What happens after you quit smoking?

Share on PinterestAlmost immediately after finishing a cigarette, the heart rate and blood pressure slowly return to normal.

The benefits are almost instant. As soon as a person stops smoking their body begins to recover in the following ways:

After 1 hour

In as little as 20 minutes after the last cigarette is smoked, the heart rate drops and returns to normal. Blood pressure begins to drop, and circulation may start to improve.

After 12 hours

Cigarettes contain a lot of known toxins including carbon monoxide, a gas present in cigarette smoke.

This gas can be harmful or fatal in high doses and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs and blood. When inhaled in large doses in a short time, suffocation can occur from lack of oxygen.

After just 12 hours without a cigarette, the body cleanses itself of the excess carbon monoxide from the cigarettes. The carbon monoxide level returns to normal, increasing the body’s oxygen levels.

After 1 day

Just 1 day after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

Smoking raises the risk of developing coronary heart disease by lowering good cholesterol, which makes heart-healthy exercise harder to do. Smoking also raises blood pressure and increases blood clots, increasing the risk of stroke.

In as little as 1 day after quitting smoking, a person’s blood pressure begins to drop, decreasing the risk of heart disease from smoking-induced high blood pressure. In this short time, a person’s oxygen levels will have risen, making physical activity and exercise easier to do, promoting heart-healthy habits.

After 2 days

Smoking damages the nerve endings responsible for the senses of smell and taste. In as little as 2 days after quitting, a person may notice a heightened sense of smell and more vivid tastes as these nerves heal.

After 3 days

3 days after quitting smoking, the nicotine levels in a person’s body are depleted. While it is healthier to have no nicotine in the body, this initial depletion can cause nicotine withdrawal. Around 3 days after quitting, most people will experience moodiness and irritability, severe headaches, and cravings as the body readjusts.

After 1 month

In as little as 1 month, a person’s lung function begins to improve. As the lungs heal and lung capacity improves, former smokers may notice less coughing and shortness of breath. Athletic endurance increases and former smokers may notice a renewed ability for cardiovascular activities, such as running and jumping.

After 1-3 months

For the next several months after quitting, circulation continues to improve.

After 9 months

Nine months after quitting, the lungs have significantly healed themselves. The delicate, hair-like structures inside the lungs known as cilia have recovered from the toll cigarette smoke took on them. These structures help push mucus out of the lungs and help fight infections.

Around this time, many former smokers notice a decrease in the frequency of lung infections because the healed cilia can do their job more easily.

After 1 year

Share on PinterestThe risk of heart disease will decrease by half after quitting smoking for 1 year, and arteries and blood vessels will begin to widen after 5 years.

One year after quitting smoking, a person’s risk for coronary heart disease decreases by half. This risk will continue to drop past the 1-year mark.

After 5 years

Cigarettes contain many known toxins that cause the arteries and blood vessels to narrow. These same toxins also increase the likelihood of developing blood clots.

After 5 years without smoking, the body has healed itself enough for the arteries and blood vessels to begin to widen again. This widening means the blood is less likely to clot, lowering the risk of stroke.

The risk of stroke will continue to reduce over the next 10 years as the body heals more and more.

After 10 years

After 10 years, a person’s chances of developing lung cancer and dying from it are roughly cut in half compared with someone who continues to smoke. The likelihood of developing mouth, throat, or pancreatic cancer has significantly reduced.

After 15 years

After 15 years of having quit smoking, the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease is the equivalent of a non-smoker. Similarly, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer has reduced to the same level as a non-smoker.

After 20 years

After 20 years, the risk of death from smoking-related causes, including both lung disease and cancer, drops to the level of a person who has never smoked in their life. Also, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer has reduced to that of someone who has never smoked.

Reasons to Quit

Remind yourself of the rewards of quitting to help yourself stay on track:

  • 20 minutes: heart rate, blood pressure drop
  • 12 hours: carbon monoxide in the bloodstream drops to normal
  • 2 weeks–3 months: circulation, lung function improves; heart attack risk begins to drop
  • 1–9 months: cough less, breathe easier
  • 1 year: risk of coronary heart disease cut in half
  • 2–5 years: risk of cancer of mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder cut in half; stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker
  • 10 years: half as likely to die from lung cancer; risk of kidney or pancreatic cancer decreases
  • 15 years: risk of coronary heart disease same as non-smoker’s risk

Immediate Rewards

There is no safe amount of cigarette smoke. When you smoke, the chemicals in tobacco reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale. Your blood carries the toxins to every organ in your body. But after you quit, your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. The nicotine leaves your body within three days. As your body starts to repair itself, you may feel worse instead of better. Withdrawal can be difficult, but it’s a sign that your body is healing.

Long-Term Rewards

Quitting can help you add years to your life. Smokers who quit before age 40 reduce their chance of dying too early from smoking-related diseases by about 90 percent. Those who quit by age 45–54 reduce their chance of dying too early by about two-thirds. You can take control of your health by quitting and staying smokefree. Over time, you’ll greatly lower your risk of death from lung cancer and other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and at least 13 other kinds of cancer.

When you quit, you’ll also protect your loved ones from dangerous secondhand smoke. You’ll set a good example and show your family that a life without cigarettes is possible.

97 Reasons to Quit Smoking

1. You won’t have to pay more and more and more and more each year.
Yup, taxes will almost certainly continue to go up. New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut are among the states leaning harder on smokers for revenue, but even some tobacco-growing states are beginning to milk the coffin-nail cash cow. Lawmakers’ reasoning: There is evidence that price increases cause smokers to reduce consumption. And the medical costs of smoking are astronomical—a huge burden to the states.

2. You’ll inhale fewer germs.
New research suggests cigarettes are crawling with germs, which can be inhaled along with the smoke. Its not clear if the germs can make you sick, but the yuck factor is undeniable.

3. You’ll be smarter than Goofy.
“No Smoking” is a superb 1951 Disney cartoon depicting the history oftobacco use and, in modern times, Goofy’s addiction and attempt to quit(there’s a hilarious Mad Men-ish scene of an office full of smokers). Itends with him smoking an exploding cigar as the narrator concludes: “Givethe smoker enough rope and he’ll hang on to his habit.”

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(YOUTUBE.COM)

4. Once you quit, you’ll find it more amusing that tobacco soup smells like s**t.
Or at least that’s what kids at a Washington state elementary school said when Teens Against Tobacco Use visited their class in 2008 and mixed up a concoction of cigarette ingredients.

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(SMOKE-FREE.CA)

5. Smoking can cramp your style in the bedroom.
Smoking can affect circulation; with less blood flow to your genitals, arousal for both men and women can be more difficult.

6. Sever yourself from the sordid history of animal testing in smoking research.
Smoking-related cancer researchers have long used animals as test subjects, producing the famous smoking beagles photos from the 1970s, which are still used by antivivisection sites today.

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(VIOLENCEFREESCIENCE.ORG)
7. You’ll sleep better.
Smokers are four times as likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, a Johns Hopkins study found; it seems going through nicotine withdrawal each night can contribute to sleep disturbances.

8. Cool bonuses at work may be in your future.
Employers are increasingly offering incentives—such as gift cards, premium discounts, or cash—to employees who participate in smoking cessation programs.

9. Quitting is a plausible excuse to play computer games.
A 2008 survey commissioned by online game maker RealNetworks suggests that playing games online can help distract people from smoking.

10. Nonsmokers have stronger bones than smokers.
Women smokers have been found to lose 2.3% to 3.3% of bone mineral density for every 10 pack-years of tobacco use. The effects are even worse in postmenopausal women.

Next Page: Read Reasons 11–20

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(SMOKE-FREE.CA)

11. You won’t have to look at those horrible antismoking messages on cigarette packs.
American messages are mild by comparison, but you have to think that this country will follow Canada, the UK, Australia, Jordan, Romania, and Uruguay by starting to put big pictures of rotting teeth, mouth cancer, and postmortem tumors right on the box. When that happens, you’ll be looking at a charming, very uncool image every time you light up.

12. That ringing in your ears will be sweet music, not just…ringing in your ears.
Smokers have a nearly 70% greater likelihood of developing hearing loss than nonsmokers.

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(GETTY IMAGES)

13. You’ll have less chance of being labeled a wild, troubled, tragic genius.
Obligatory Amy Winehouse mention here: In 2008, she emerged from the hospital with early signs of emphysema—possibly crack-induced—and lit up a cigarette.

14. You’ll have more dining and barhopping options on overseas vacations.
England, France, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico are among the exciting destinations now 100% smoke-free in restaurants and bars.

15. You may be less likely to get psoriasis.
Studies have shown that daily smoking is linked to the risk of developing psoriasis. The higher the number of cigarettes over 20 smoked per day, the greater that risk.

16. Your chance of having cold hands and feet will go down…
When you quit smoking, your circulation gets better right away.

17. …which means you can reduce your risk of frostbite.
Smoking restricts circulation, which is particularly bad for the fingers and toes of those desperate people who step outside to puff in wintry climates.

18. You can drink less coffee for the same buzz—and save money.
Smokers’ bodies clear caffeine 56% more quickly than nonsmokers’. That’s why you should cut your caffeine intake in half when you quit—or risk some serious irritability and insomnia.

19. The Pill suddenly becomes a lot safer to use.
If you’re on the Pill and smoke, you should cut out one or the other. The Pill is not recommended for smokers because oral contraceptives carry a risk of clots, heart attacks, and strokes; those risks are increased if you smoke.

20. Slow the progression from HIV to AIDS.
HIV-positive people who smoke appear to have a faster progression time to AIDS than those who don’t smoke. The effect is likely a result of smoking’s impact on the immune system.

Next Page: Read Reasons 21–30

21. You may be able to cut back on your dosage of certain medications.
Smoking affects the liver enzymes that process certain drugs, so smokers sometimes need to take higher doses to get the same effect.

22. You’ll be less likely to burn down your house.
One study found that people who live in smoking households were up to 6.6 times more likely to experience a fire injury than those in nonsmoking households. According to another study, cigarettes were the cause of 55% of all house fires involving a fatality. Overall, cigarettes are the leading cause of death from residential fires. On April 9, 2008, a 3-year-old Texas boy burned down his family’s house after playing with a cigarette lighter. The boy, a report said, would nowattend a fire safety course.

23. You’ll cut your risk of Crohn’s disease.
Smokers are four times more likely as those who never smoked to develop this chronic—sometimes debilitating—disease, which can be painful, causes frequent diarrhea, and can require intestinal surgery.

24. Save money—lots of it—and purchase more important luxuries, like gas.
Calculate how much you’ll save.

25. If you stop buying cigarettes online, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also chip away at a sleazy business.
Yes, you can save tons of money buying cigarettes online—but then you’re supporting a sleazy business. In 2004, a California study showed that kids had no problem finding and ordering cigs online, and 77% got their tobacco delivered. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2003 showed that 92% of minors were able to buy smokes online despite the prevalence of age warnings on the sites.

26. Decrease your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Smokers are at two to four times greater risk of developing coronary heart disease as nonsmokers. Cigarette smokers with coronary heart disease are also at twice the risk for sudden cardiac death as nonsmokers with coronary heart disease.

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(GETTY IMAGES)

27. You’ll be less likely to die of a brain tumor.
The brain is a common site for lung cancer to spread. In fact, according tothe American College of Radiology, radiation therapy maysometimes be used on the brain even when no cancer has been detected in “this vitalsite.”

28. You’ll brighten up your choppers.
Nobody likes tobacco stains. The average professional teeth-cleaning procedure costs somewhere between $500 and $1000.

29. You’ll be less wrinkly.
After 10 years, smoking can speed up your skin’s aging process by narrowing your skin’s blood vessels and damaging the tissues that give the skin its strength and elasticity.

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(NYSMOKEFREE.COM)

30. Cut the risk of acid reflux.
If you’ve smoked for 20 years, you’re 70% more likely than a nonsmoker to have acid reflux.

Next Page: Read Reasons 31–40

31. Carry a smaller purse or streamline your pants.
No more toting that pack (or two) of cigarettes, lighter, breath strips, and gum.

32. Enjoy your food more.
Smoking diminishes the taste of food and the pleasure of eating.

33. Preserve your sense of smell.
About twice as many smokers as nonsmokers have a reduced sense of smell.

34. Eat less. (Despite muting the taste buds, smoking brings food cravings of its own.)
Smoking is associated with greater calorie intake, particularly from food high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

35. Avoid that attractive “yellow fingers” look.
Smoking can permanently stain your fingers.

36. Keep your walls the color you painted them.
Cigarette smoke creates persistent yellow stains on painted walls that take a concentrated effort to remove.

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(MASTERFILE)

37. Reduce the premature need for expensive hair treatments.
Smokers are three to six times more likely to go prematurely gray than nonsmokers.

38. Reduce the need for premature hairpieces.
Men who smoke are twice as likely to become bald as men who don’t smoke.

39. Cheer up without meds.
Smoking may increase the risk of depression.

Next Page: Read Reasons 41–51

41. Protect Fido and Fluffy.
A number of studies show that secondhand smoke at home may be associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and lung cancer in birds.

42. Get more work done at the office.
A study in the Netherlands showed that smokers took an average of 11 more sick days a year than nonsmokers.

43. No more little, round burn holes in your clothes or car seats.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing linen, cotton, or wool (or if your car seats are wearing leather or vinyl), all sorts of materials are susceptible to cigarette burns.

44. Cut your chances of a horrible elevator experience.
If you take cigarette breaks in a tall building, you’ll take more elevator rides. Let this guy’s story of a smoke break that turned into a 41-hour captivity be a cautionary tale.

45. Save water, cut your carbon footprint.
According to GreenYour.com, washing machines suck up 21.7 percent of household water usage. Stinky clothes need more washing. Ergo, you’ll save water and reduce your electricity bill.

46. Save trees, cut your carbon footprint.
A Belgian University study from the 1990s cited deforestation (to make way for tobacco farming) and wood burning (to cure the tobacco) as negative factors in the ecology of developing countries.

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(BBC.CO.UK)

47. If Obama can do it, so can you.
Well, at least he’s trying.
Obama took some heat in early 2007 from, among others, Fox News, causing the BBC to comment derisively on the “McCarthyite” aspects of the story. (Scroll way down on that BBC link.)

48. Spend less time in the dentist’s chair.
According to the American Dental Association, smoking puts you at greater risk for all kinds of dental problems, including oral cancer and gum disease. It also takes longer for your dentist to clean all the stains off your teeth at your checkups. Wouldn’t you rather be doing, well, anything other than sitting in a dentist’s chair?

49. Save money on breath fresheners.
The gum, mint, and breath freshener industry takes in $3.7 billion a year. But it’ll take less of your money if you don’t have to pop a mint after every smoke.

50. Be nagged less.
We now live in a society where haranguing a smoker is almost a civic duty, and certainly an act of love if said smoker is a relative or dear friend. Like most smokers, Kevin Ambrose, 52, of Washington Grove, Md., gets ribbed about quitting: “My wife wants me to quit, my kids want me to quit, my cardiologist wants me to quit, my father wants me to quit,” he says.

51. Stop that nagging cough too.
Those most at risk for bronchitis are smokers or people who live with smokers.

Next Page: Read Reasons 52–62

52. Use the cigarette lighter for a higher purpose: Keep your kids from fighting in the car.
Most portable appliances, including iPods and personal DVD players, plug in to the cigarette lighter in your car via an adapter. Chuck the lighter and deploy the power source to keep the kids entertained with movies or music.

53. Avoid carbon monoxide and other well-known killers.
Cigarettes produce carbon monoxide, which, when inhaled, binds to the oxygen-carrying molecules in your body, depriving you of air.

54. Your life insurance rates will go down—substantially…
One 2007 comparison showed a 40-year-old nonsmoker paying $55.13 a month for a$1 million 20-year policy. The price for a smoker of the same age:$231.46 per month. That’s pure, actuarial math—the increased risk of dyingthat the smoker presents to the insurance company and that the company thenpasses on to the smoker.

55. …and your life insurance company may even bribe you to quit.
John Hancock’s Quit Smoking Incentive allows a cigarette smoker to pay a nonsmokerpremium for the first three years of the policy. If the smoker hasn’t quit and stayed off cigarettes for at least 12 months by then, the premium doubles.

56. You won’t be pumping out carcinogens like a Soviet-era steel plant.
According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, there are more than 50 carcinogens in secondhand smoke.

57. Your wounds will heal better.
Several studies have found that smokers do not heal as well after surgeries such as face lifts, tooth extractions, and periodontal procedures.

58. Your baby will be safer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is linked to a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

59. Clean up your children’s lungs.
Secondhand smoke is now believed to be a risk factor for children to develop asthma; it also contributes to respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) and ear infections, as well as coughing, wheezing, and decreased lung function.

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(ISTOCKPHOTO)

60. If you’re pregnant, you can leave the 70% of pregnant smokers who can’t quit in your dust.
According to the American Lung Association, only 30% of smokers quit when they find out they are pregnant. In 2004, 10% of women giving birth were smokers.

61. Experience menopause as scheduled, not before.
Smoking may advance the arrival of menopause in women by several years.

62. Perk up those sperm!
Even if they can get it up, men who smoke cigarettes have a lower sperm count and motility and increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function than men who don’t smoke.

Next Page: Read Reasons 63–71

63. Cut down on your cadmium, arsenic, N-nitrosamines, and formaldehyde.
Cigarette smoke contains some 4,000 chemical agents.

64. Earn more money and have more job options.
Smokers earn anywhere from 4% to 11% less than nonsmokers. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Workrights Institute estimates that there are more than 6,000 companies in the U.S. that attempt to regulate off-duty smoking and other private behavior.

65. Date more—at least in Canada…
A 2005 survey of Canadians, done by Nicoderm (a patch product) and Lavalife (a site that says it has “thousands of local, sexy adult online singles”), found that 56% of people would not date a smoker.

66. …and get dumped less.
In that same survey, 20% had, or knew someone who had, broken up with someone because he or she smoked.

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Cigarette smoking can alter how women perceive sweet foods.(ISTOCKPHOTO)

67. Enjoy chocolate more.
In a study, women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet flavors than women who never smoked.

68. Get more pleasure out of life.
No matter what the cigarette makers say about tobacco-induced coolness, bonhomie, cowboy-ruggedness, independence, and sexiness, it’s mostly nonsense. Scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in the UK assessed the well-being of nearly 10,000 people over the age of 50 and found that smokers in the group reported lower than average levels of pleasure and less satisfaction with their lives than the nonsmokers.

69. Crash your car less often.
In a 1990 study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, smokers had a 1.5-fold increase in risk for motor vehicle crashes over nonsmokers.

70. Be indoors more often, where it’s safer.This smokers-on-a-balcony disaster video is a joke, but it’s only one of a whole genre of “funny reasons to quit smoking” videos on YouTube that you can enjoy while not smoking.

71. Be more kissable.
Kiss someone after smoking a cigarette and you may get the same reaction as these chimpanzees.

Next Page: Read Reasons 72–81

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(GETTY IMAGES)

72. Stop being a horrible influence on children.
Children of smokers are twice as likely to smoke.

73. As we said, you’ll stop being a horrible influence on children.
Exposure to secondhand smoke, even low amounts, hurts kids’ cognitive skills and is linked to increased behavioral problems.

74. Your children will even have healthier teeth, for crying out loud.
Children raised in houses where one or both adults smoke are more likely to develop tooth decay.

75. Your mouth will be better off too.
Smoking compromises saliva flow and function. Saliva is important for cleaning the lining of the teeth and mouth and protecting teeth from decay.

76. You’ll look better in front of a judge.
Secondhand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), can have an adverse impact on child-custody decisions.

77. Preserve your eyesight.
Exposure to cigarette smoke doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

78. If you quit, it will be easier for your partner to quit.Several studies have found that it’s harder to quit when you live with someone who smokes.

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(GETTY IMAGES)

79. No more huffing and puffing during workouts.
Cigarette smoking causes carbon monoxide to seep into your blood, which limits the amount of oxygen it can carry to your heart, lungs, and muscles.

80. Save money on dry cleaning.
Quitters will no longer have to pay to remove the stench of smoke from their sweaters and sport coats.

81. Broaden your online dating options.
Sites aimed at smokers, like datingforsmokers.com (“Light up your love life”), are a bit limiting.

Next Page: Read Reasons 82–91

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These très chic mittens contain a cigarette-shaped hole so smokers can light-up without the fear of frostbite.(SUCK.UK.COM)

82. Be warmer in the winter.
No more standing in the snow outside bars and restaurants.

83. Contribute more to the nation’s productivity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that premature deaths caused by smoking cost the U.S. roughly $92 billion in lost productivity each year.

84. Hold on to your marbles longer.
A 2007 Dutch study of 7,000 people published in the journal Neurology concluded that current smoking increases the risk of dementia. Past smoking doesn’t. At the time, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted a researcher as saying that “increasingly as we age, is a major threat to the health of your brain.”

85. Get rid of genital warts faster.
An Australian study showed that genital warts were more likely to linger for six months or more in men who were smokers compared with nonsmokers.

86. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 1.
Compared with nonsmokers, female smokers have a higher incidence of infertility and take longer to conceive.

87. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 2.
Cigarette smoking harms a womans ovaries, and the degree of harm increases with the number of cigarettes and length of time a woman smokes.

88. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 3.
Smoking appears to speed up the loss of eggs and reproductive function in women.

89. Improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to interfere with the ability of cells in the ovary to make estrogen. These chemicals also cause a womans eggs (oocytes) to be more prone to genetic abnormalities.

90. Now that you’re pregnant, improve your chances of the pregnancy turning out well.
Smoking is strongly associated with an increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage and possibly ectopic pregnancy.

91. Another reason you’ll improve your chances of the pregnancy turning out well.
Pregnant smokers are more likely to have underweight and premature babies than pregnant nonsmokers.

Next Page: Read Reasons 92–97

92. Less chance—if the Chinese example is anything to go by—of suffering tobacco-induced limp-noodle syndrome, which is not a technical term but you get the idea.
One 2007 study estimated that more than 20% of erectile dysfunction cases in Chinese men could be attributed to smoking.

93. You could save $14 per pack!
You will, however, split that savings with your employer and the nation. Heres the math: If cigarettes are $7 per pack in your local store today, add another $7.18 (at least), because thats the 2002 estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the per-pack cost in lost productivity and medical costs caused by cigarettes. Given the skyrocketing cost of medical care in this country, the savings may even be greater than that.

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(AMCTV.COM)

94. After you quit, it will be safe to watch Mad Men.
AMCs riveting, smoke-wreathed, ultracool series about ad agencies in the early 1960s is an hour-long inducement to light up. Until you’ve safely quit, here’s an alternative: Visit the online Legacy Tobacco Documents Library to read memos and reports tracing the real-life efforts of tobacco companies to advertise and market cigarettes in the years before and after the historic 1964 Surgeon Generals report declaring smoking a health hazard.

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(THESMOKINGGUN.COM)

95. You will be much less likely to be the butt of a headline like “Smoking Woman in Air Rage.”
According to The Smoking Gun, the Web site that serves up arrest warrants and other documents pertaining to bad behavior, a 35-year-old New Yorker lit up a cigarette on a JetBlue flight to San Francisco on June 17, 2008, began cursing, punched a flight attendant, and had to be restrained while the plane made a diversion to Denver.

96. You will laugh less self-consciously at a headline like “Smoking Now Permitted Only in Special Room in Iowa.”
Check out The Onion’s hilarious 1998 story about a congressional law “restricting smoking in the U.S. to a specially designated ‘smoking lounge in Oskaloosa, IA.” The story quotes an antismoking activist: “We must continue to lobby for greater restrictions until smoking is only allowed beyond the orbit of the outermost gas giant Neptune.”

97. Oh, did we mention you’ll likely live longer?
Every cigarette you smoke cuts 11 minutes off your expected life span.

100 Reasons to Get Excited About Quitting Smoking

by John R. Polito

Want to quit and stop smoking but haven’t yet been able to pull it off? Consider a bit different approach. What’s needed is what researchers call self-efficacy: belief that you can.

Try this. Instead of thinking in terms of strength or willpower, invite dreams and desires to become the wind beneath your wings. Consider borrowing from the following wish list in creating your own. Use this Word formatted copy to make additions or deletions in personalizing and printing your list.

Be sure to carry your dreams with you at all times and to reach for them if feeling challenged.

Sample Dream Sheet

  1. Substantially improved breathing
  2. Much deeper sleep
  3. Greater calm during crisis (smoking is not a stress-buster)
  4. No more being nagged about quitting
  5. Being generally happier and less depressed
  6. Able to engage in brisk physical activity without becoming winded
  7. Better rational control over impulsivity
  8. Greater honesty with others
  9. Less risk of hearing loss
  10. Cleaner skin and hair
  11. Enhanced pride, confidence and self esteem
  12. Up to 1,200 percent lower odds of developing COPD
  13. More coins in my pocket each and every day
  14. A hugely whiter smile that’s not afraid to be seen
  15. Vastly diminished odds of mouth or throat cancer
  16. Clean, fresh breath that no longer needs to hide
  17. An end to inhaling up to 69 cancer causing chemicals
  18. Less chance of developing leukemia: blood cancer
  19. A temporary journey to crave-less days, weeks, months and hopefully years
  20. Additional job opportunities
  21. Diminished anxiety and greater patience
  22. Slowly diminishing odds of coronary heart disease (up to 200%)
  23. Substantially cheaper life insurance
  24. My 37 trillion cells receiving more oxygen and fewer toxins
  25. No risk of making children sick by breathing my secondhand smoke
  26. Substantially less facial wrinkling
  27. An end to inhaling up to 250 tissue destroying toxins
  28. Reduced odds of prostrate or cervical cancer
  29. Relaxed, wider, less clogged and generally healthier blood vessels
  30. Up to 52% lower odds of developing skin cancer
  31. More room in my pockets or purse
  32. Healed tastebuds with foods tasting more accurate: some better, some worse
  33. Less chance of an abdominal aortic aneurysm
  34. Keeping more hair longer
  35. Less heartburn
  36. No more inventing excuses for standing out in the heat, cold or rain
  37. Cleaner clothes
  38. Return of my natural sensitivities
  39. Increased fertility
  40. Lower odds of my cat or dog getting cancer
  41. Diminishing odds of a stroke (up to 200%)
  42. No more yellow fingers
  43. Healthier gums with fewer root canals
  44. Prolonged periods of deep relaxation
  45. Diminishing risk of stomach cancer
  46. Natural adrenaline levels
  47. No more setting a horrible example for kids
  48. A vacation for my heart (up to 17.5 fewer heartbeats per minute)
  49. No more ash, butts, ashtrays or lighters
  50. A cleaner smelling house and car
  51. The possibility of never again experiencing bronchitis
  52. No more burn holes in clothes, carpets or upholstery
  53. An opportunity to again meet the real and forgotten me
  54. No longer feeling like a social outcast
  55. Diminishing odds of bladder cancer
  56. A vastly enhanced sense of smell
  57. Stronger bones, reduced osteoporosis and fewer back problems
  58. No longer creating 1 genetic cell mutation for every 3 cigs smoked
  59. Less chance of going blind
  60. No more late night trips to the store
  61. Each puff no longer permanently destroying additional lung air sacs (alveoli)
  62. Diminishing likelihood of pancreatic cancer
  63. The ability to fall to sleep faster
  64. Re-grown cilia with fewer colds and flu
  65. Self honesty about why I smoked: a real drug addict / mentally ill
  66. Greater opportunity to make non-smoking friends
  67. No longer needing to tank-up every waking hour of every day
  68. Less absenteeism from work and greater productivity while there
  69. The ability to stay seated for an entire movie or drive for hours
  70. No longer exposing others to my smoke
  71. More teeth at old age (an average of 5.8)
  72. Less likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes (44%)
  73. Never having to think about quitting again
  74. No more social pressure to quit
  75. Diminishing odds of rheumatoid arthritis
  76. Fewer doctor visits and medical bills
  77. Smoking no longer gradually diminishing my IQ
  78. Fewer headaches
  79. The prospect of looking years younger
  80. Declining odds of macular degeneration (200%)
  81. An end to my wheeze or chronic cough
  82. Gradually diminishing odds of lung cancer (up to 2,500%)
  83. Lower blood pressure inviting serenity
  84. A bigger bounce in each step
  85. An end to inhaling smoke’s 7,000+ chemicals
  86. Less chance of experiencing middle-aged memory loss
  87. Quicker wound and fracture healing
  88. Improved odds of not becoming a smoking statistic
  89. Hopefully, many extra years of life (at least 10 – the average lost)
  90. No loved one left pondering why I committed slow suicide
  91. No longer waiting for a house to fall on me before awakening
  92. Living long enough to enjoy and draw retirement or social security
  93. Living far healthier, happier and calmer once there
  94. A permanent end to my neuro-chemical slavery
  95. No longer daily handing the neo-nicotine industry my money
  96. The promise of becoming nicotine-clean within 72 hours
  97. The promise of moving beyond peak withdrawal within 72 hours
  98. At last realizing that recovery is good and wonderful not bad
  99. Within 2 weeks, watching fear and dread melt into like or even love
  100. The confidence that flows from mastering successful quitting’s only rule (the Law of Addiction): that one equals all, that lapse equals relapse, that one puff would be too many, while thousands wouldn’t be enough, that failure is impossible so long as I keep all nicotine on the outside.

Why fear coming home?
Baby steps, just the next few minutes, yes you can!

How to Quit Smoking

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Discover Smart Turkey Quitting

  • WhyQuit.com – WhyQuit is the Internet’s oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers.
  • Nicotine Addiction 101 – WhyQuit’s basic guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
  • Nicotine Cessation Topic Index – An alphabetical subject matter index to more than a thousand nicotine cessation articles, videos and support group discussions.
  • Joel’s Library – Joel Spitzer began presenting stop smoking clinics and seminars in 1976. Joel’s Library is home to his life’s work. It includes Joel’s “Daily Quitting Lesson Guide,” more than 100 original stop smoking articles, his free ebook “Never Take Another Puff,” and to his ever growing collection of more than 400 stop smoking videos.
  • “Freedom from Nicotine – The Journey Home” – Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit’s 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine shares the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful abrupt nicotine cessation.
  • Turkeyville – Imagine surrounding yourself with more than 10,000 cold turkey quitters. Turkeyville is a Facebook support group exclusively for cold turkey quitters.
  • Freedom – Freedom was WhyQuit’s original 1999 stop smoking support group. No longer accepting members, its 453,000 archived posts continue to share recovery insights.

Knowledge is a Quitting Method

Reasons to Quit Smoking

Ready to quit smoking? Every smoker has their own personal reasons for quitting. Here are some common ones. Think about what is most important to you.

Your Health

According to the Surgeon General, quitting smoking is the single most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life. As soon as you quit, your body begins to repair the damage caused by smoking. Of course, it’s best to quit early in life, but even someone who quits later in life will improve their health.

Your Wallet

It’s expensive to smoke cigarettes. In some places, a pack of cigarettes costs more than $10—and prices keep rising. Even if a pack costs “only” $5 where you live, smoking one pack per day adds up to $1,825.00 each year.

Your Convenience

Smoking is a hassle. More and more states and cities have passed clean indoor air laws that make bars, restaurants, and other public places smokefree. Are you tired of having to go outside many times a day to have a cigarette? Is standing in the cold and the rain really worth having that cigarette? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could choose to go outside only when you want to and not when you need to?

Your Friends and Family

Cigarette smoke harms everyone who inhales it, not just the smoker. Whether you’re young or old and in good health or bad, secondhand smoke is dangerous and can make you sick. Children who live with smokers get more chest colds and ear infections, while babies born to mothers who smoke have an increased risk of premature delivery, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Both you and the people in your life will breathe easier when you quit. Ex-smokers don’t carry the scent of smoke on their clothes and hair, and their homes don’t smell like cigarettes. Better breathing can mean better sleep at your house: Not only are smokers more likely to snore, so are non-smokers who breathe secondhand smoke on a daily basis.

Your Quality of Life

Here are some ways being a nonsmoker may affect your life:

  • Because smoking interferes with your sense of taste, food tastes better when you quit.
  • Your sense of smell also improves, so get ready to really enjoy the scent of flowers or fresh-cut grass.
  • You’ll be able to make it through a long movie or an airplane flight without craving a cigarette.
  • Within a few weeks after quitting, your smoker’s cough will disappear and you’ll have more energy.
  • See how quickly your body responds to your decision to quit smoking on the benefits of quitting timeline.

Join Freedom From Smoking®

If you’re ready to quit, find out how our Freedom From Smoking program can help you start your smokefree future.

Three quarters of today’s smokers trying to shed the habit are heavily hooked on nicotine.

This number is up 32 percent from almost two decades ago.

According to research presented at the American College of Chest Physicians’ annual meeting in October. Left alone, smoking could kill more than a billion people this century, according to the World Health Organization.

Why You Should Stop Smoking

Unfortunately, the fact that it’s such a difficult habit to quit makes it so dangerous. For most, quitting isn’t just a matter of willpower. However, the list of reasons to stop smoking keeps growing, and here are the most important ones!

Here’s why you should stop smoking for good:

1. Save Money

Increased tobacco taxation and the resulting rise in the cost of tobacco products is considered among the most effective tobacco control measures to date with less people continuing, or taking up smoking, as a result.

If you smoke a pack a day for an entire year, cutting that out can save you over $1000 per year!

Additionally, insurance companies increase their rates based on whether or not you smoke due to the associated risks.

2. Get Your Health Back

Smoking tobacco affects human health in a multitude of ways. With larger impact on the heart and lungs. Ranging from increased risk of lung cancer and heart attacks to rapid aging of the skin, acne, and decreased senses.

Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and lung cancer.

3. Live Longer

Quitting smoking, preferably before the age of 40 gives back almost a decade of lost life from continued smoking.

The nicotine in cigarettes causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which means less blood flow to the outermost layers of your skin.

With reduced blood flow, your skin does not get enough oxygen and important nutrients, such as .

4. Sleep Better

Since nicotine is a stimulant, that cigarette right before bed deals a sort of double blow to your body.

The stimulating nature of nicotine makes it more difficult to get to sleep. And once you do, the withdrawal symptoms of addiction invites uncomfortable and inconsistent sleep patterns.

5. Heal Wounds Faster

Besides causing all sorts of diseases, smoking gets in the way of the healing process, contributing to the difficulty in healing surgical wounds and bone fractures. Compounds like nicotine, nitric oxide, and hydrogen cyanide inhibit healing.

In 2007, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported that cigarette smoking impairs ligament healing after ligament-repair surgery. Smoking causes decreased macrophage response that causes a delayed or decreased healing response.

You won’t be like Wolverine or Deadpool, instantly healing from gunshot wounds. But, slowing down your own real life healing factor by smoking could create medical complications for yourself in the future. That you’ll never recover from!

6. Take Back Control

One of the most poorly understood components of addiction is ‘craving’. The urge for nicotine that has been described by most as a major obstacle to successfully curbing smoking altogether.

Although some of withdrawal symptoms are related to the effects of nicotine, for some people the symptoms are a result of psychological experiences.

For some, the feel, smell, or sight of a cigarette and the ritual of handling, lighting, or smoking it are all associated with the pleasurable effects of smoking.

Often those with cravings feel out of control, angry, and have a difficult time staying calm and composed, even if they regularly smoke but haven’t been able to at their usual time.

7. Protect Your Family

Smoking effects those around you. Not just through detrimental health effects, but through setting examples or how those around you view you. Secondhand smoke is dangerous on it’s own, containing more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are cancerous.

8. Protect Your Fertility

If you’re planning on having kids, smoking has been cited as one of the reasons behind the increasing infertility rate among young people, both from smoking and from secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke.

According to a study conducted in 2010, smoking damages men’s sperm and decreases estrogen produced by women. It also increases the likelihood of miscarriages and may lead to egg damage, organ damage, or ovulation problems.

9. Protect Your Mental State

A 2007 analysis of 19 prior studies concluded that elderly smokers face a heightened risk of dementia and cognitive decline, compared with lifelong nonsmokers.

And in 2004, researchers reported in Neurology that smoking appeared to hasten cognitive decline in dementia-free elderly smokers, bringing it on several times faster than in their nonsmoking peers.

10. Avoid The Smell

Because your sense have smell may of lessened due to smoking, you may not notice just how badly you smell to other people.

The smell pushes away non-smokers and can alienate you in public spaces, where most would do their best to avoid something that they find to be ‘sensory pollution.’

The influence of smell is what of the strongest determinants of how people interact with one another, whether it’s the smell of smoke, or the odor of someone 3 days late for a shower.

Summary

Know the risks, and also know that there are many options for those that want to take that first step to knocking the habit, whether it’s professional help, home remedies, alternative habits.

Quitting Smoking

Tobacco use can lead to tobacco/nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases.

Tobacco/nicotine dependence is a condition that often requires repeated treatments, but there are helpful treatments and resources for quitting.

Smokers can and do quit smoking. In fact, today there are more former smokers than current smokers.1

Nicotine Dependence

  • Most smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco.2
  • More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.3 Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.1,2,4
  • Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts.4,5 People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and weight gain.4,5,6
  • Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include:4,6
    • Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious
    • Having trouble thinking
    • Craving tobacco products
    • Feeling hungrier than usual

Health Benefits of Quitting

Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful, and about 70 can cause cancer.1,4,7 Smoking increases the risk for serious health problems, many diseases, and death.1,4 People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, there are benefits at any age.1,4,8,9 You are never too old to quit.

Stopping smoking is associated with the following health benefits:1,4,8,9

  • Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
  • Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
  • Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
  • Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
  • Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
  • Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Smokers’ Attempts to Quit

Among all current U.S. adult cigarette smokers, nearly 7 out of every 10 (68.0%) reported in 2015 that they wanted to quit completely.10

  • Since 2002, the number of former smokers has been greater than the number of current smokers.

Percentage of adult daily cigarette smokers who stopped smoking for more than 1 day in 2015 because they were trying to quit:10

Percentage of high school cigarette smokers who tried to stop smoking in the past 12 months:11

  • More than 4 out of 10 (45.5%) of all high school students who smoke

Ways to Quit Smoking

Most former smokers quit without using one of the treatments that scientific research has shown can work.10 However, the following treatments are proven to be effective for smokers who want help to quit:

  • Brief help by a doctor (such as when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to give a patient advice and assistance about quitting)6
  • Individual, group, or telephone counseling6
  • Behavioral therapies (such as training in problem solving)6
  • Treatments with more person-to-person contact and more intensity (such as more or longer counseling sessions)6
  • Programs to deliver treatments using mobile phones12

Medications for quitting that have been found to be effective include the following:

  • Nicotine replacement products6
    • Over-the-counter (nicotine patch , gum, lozenge)
    • Prescription (nicotine patch, inhaler, nasal spray)
  • Prescription non-nicotine medications: bupropion SR (Zyban®),6 varenicline tartrate (Chantix®)6

Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone.6

  • More information is needed about quitting for people who smoke cigarettes and also use other types of tobacco.1

Helpful Resources

Quitline Services

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOWexternal icon (1-800-784-8669) if you want help quitting. This is a free telephone support service that can help people who want to stop smoking or using tobacco. Callers are routed to their state quitlines, which offer several types of quit information and services. These may include:

  • Free support, advice, and counseling from experienced quitline coaches
  • A personalized quit plan
  • Practical information on how to quit, including ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal
  • The latest information about stop-smoking medications
  • Free or discounted medications (available for at least some callers in most states)
  • Referrals to other resources
  • Mailed self-help materials

Online Help

Get free help online, too.

  • For information on quitting, go to the Quit Smoking Resources page on CDC’s Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site.
  • Read inspiring stories about former smokers and their reasons for quitting at CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers Web site.
  • The I’m Ready to Quit! page links to many helpful resources.

Publications

Visit CDC’s Online Publications Catalog to order free copies of materials about quitting as well as helpful resources about tobacco use prevention.

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 .
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research Report Series: Is Nicotine Addictive?external icon. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012 .
  3. American Society of Addiction Medicine. Public Policy Statement on Nicotine Addiction and Tobaccoexternal icon. Chevy Chase (MD): American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2008 .
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010 .
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2000 .
  6. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guidelinesexternal icon. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008 .
  7. National Toxicology Program. Report on Carcinogens, Thirteenth Editionexternal icon. Research Triangle Park (NC): U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Toxicology Program, 2014 .
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004 .
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon Generalexternal icon. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1990 .
  10. Babb S, Malarcher A, Schauer G, Asman K, Jamal A. Quitting Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2000–2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2017;65(52):1457-64 .
  11. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015pdf icon. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2016;66(SS–6):1–174 .
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposureexternal icon .

Why Quitting Smoking is Important

Since 1964 when the Surgeon General of the United States released his report linking smoking to a wide range of respiratory diseases including cancer, Americans have known of the potential hazards of cigarette/ pipe use. Following that report, the rate of smoking in adults has gradually decreased from 42.4% in 1965, 20.9% in 2005, and 17.8% in 2013; 20.5% in men and 15.3% in women.. However, while we have made progress, there is still a great need to encourage tobacco cessation. We now know that smoking is responsible for many other diseases. Use of tobacco products has become the largest single preventable cause of death in America. Below is a brief discussion of some of the many links between smoking and systemic disease.

Tobacco Use and Systemic Diseases
Cardiovascular Disease: Cigarette smoke damages the lining of blood vessels and begins the process of atherosclerosis (plaque that blocks the blood vessels). This in turn leads to all forms of heart disease including angina (chest pain), heart attack, irregular heart beats, stroke, and sudden death. In 2011, it was estimated that there were 174,500 deaths from cardiovascular diseases directly related to smoking; and 46,000 deaths from exposure to second hand smoke.

Lung Diseases: Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of respiratory diseases in the United States resulting in more than 84,000 deaths from bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and chronic airway obstruction (COPD. Cigarette smoking directly causes over 90% of lung cancers; and secondhand smoke causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in nonsmokers. One study estimates that 17% of lung cancer in nonsmokers results from exposure to tobacco smoke during their childhood years.

Gastrointestinal Diseases: Smoking is associated with an increased risk for GERD, gallstones stomach ulcers and cancer of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, and colon cancer.

Arthritis / Bone Disease: Smoking increases the risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Smokers have less bone mass than nonsmokers and the bone loss is more rapid in postmenopausal females who smoke.

Eye Disorders: Smoking increases the risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Depression: Smokers are more likely to have depression and have more anxiety disorders, bulimia, attention-deficit disorders, alcohol abuse, and schizophrenia than non-smokers.

Specific Concerns for Women Who Smoke: The leading cancer killer in females is lung cancer. Since 1950, there has been a 600% increase in lung cancer deaths in smoking females. In 2015, 71,000 females will die from lung cancer. Women who smoke have an increased risk of infertility and spontaneous abortion. Complications caused by smoking during pregnancy include pre-term delivery, increased risk of stillbirth, lower birth weight, and decreased lung function in the developing child.

Oral Disease: Many oral diseases are directly linked to smoking and tobacco use. Please see PATIENT INFORMATION SHEET: Oral Changes Associated with Tobacco Use.

Bottom Line: The negative, harmful, addictive effects of tobacco products are clear. If you or a person that you care for smokes, please take action to stop. It can be done.

Benefits of Stopping Smoking
One of the many excuses for not stopping smoking is that the health damage has already been done and that the damage cannot be reversed. Please see PATIENT INFORMATION SHEET: Tobacco Use: Common Questions and Concerns. The following shows just how quickly you can benefit from stopping smoking:

After you smoke your last cigarette:
Within 20 minutes your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature will return to its normal values.
Within 24 hours your risk for having a heart attack begins to decrease.
Within 2 days your sense of smell and taste will begin to return. Food will taste and smell like it should.
Within 3 days your body is “free” of nicotine.
Within 3 weeks both your body and brain will no longer be dependent on nicotine.
Within 3 months your blood circulation and lung function has significantly improved.
Within one year you will have a large reduction in risk for both heart diseases and cancers.
Within 15 years your health risks are similar to those of a non-tobacco user.

Prepared by G Taybos, K Crews and the AAOM Web Writing Group
Prepared 13 July 2008
Reviewed/Revised 11 November 2015

The information contained in this monograph is for educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health concern, consult your professional health care provider. Reliance on any information provided in this monograph is solely at your own risk.

Why you should avoid smoking

Smoking damages the heart and blood circulation, making it more likely that someone who smokes regularly will get heart disease or have a heart attack.

Smoking can also make you feel more out of breath when you exercise, and make you more likely to get coughs and colds. Smoking increases the risk of getting cancer, particularly lung cancer.

Can’t smokers just stop?

Lots of people who smoke say they would like to stop. The trouble is, tobacco also contains a drug called nicotine, which is addictive: it means you want more and more.

When someone smokes, the nicotine goes into their brain and makes them feel relaxed. When they stop smoking, their brain starts to miss the nicotine and after a while they feel that they would really like to smoke again. If they don’t smoke, they feel stressed and uncomfortable, which makes it hard to stop.

Did You Know?There are 4,500 chemicals in tobacco smoke – many of which are very bad for your health and can make you ill.

Is it best not to start smoking?

Yes – there are lots of other reasons why it is best not to start smoking.

  • Smoking makes your breath smell, not to mention your clothes and your fingers. Yuck!
  • Smoking is really expensive. Buying a packet of cigarettes a day adds up to more than £50 a week!
  • Smokers don’t have as much energy for playing games and sport
  • You are not allowed to smoke in public places like shops, libraries and restaurants; if people want to smoke, they have to go outside- even if it is pouring with rain!
  • Smoking at home is bad for your family and pets
  • Most people don’t smoke and don’t like people smoking near them

Secondhand smoke

If you live with people who smoke around you a lot, you could be at risk of developing the same diseases that smokers can get when you are older. This is called secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke can make you cough or wheeze, and if you have asthma it can make breathing very difficult. It can also give you a headache or make you feel sick.

Some adults think that if they smoke out of a window in the house or car, it protects other people from their secondhand smoke. They are wrong. Some of the smoke always comes back in.

Getting help to stop smoking

The ‘Stop Smoking Service’ is there to help people give up if they want to. If you know someone who wants to stop smoking, tell them to phone up and a special advisor will help them.

Riddle me this! How old do you have to be to buy cigarettes?

  • 1 18
  • 2 9
  • 3 12

Oh yeahhh..you got it right!Oh noooo..you got it wrong!

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