Why should I quit smoking?

Published: 19th March, 2013 in: Quit Smoking

Benefits of giving up smoking

Why should I?

After 15 years of not smoking, your risk of a heart attack is the same as if you’d never smoked at all.

If you stop smoking, within a year, your risk of heart attack falls to about half that of a continuing smoker, and within 10 years the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

You know it’s bad for you, you know you should give up, but here’s a reminder of precisely why: you’ll probably live longer, you’ll be healthier, you'll have more money, your breath and clothes won’t smell and you’ll look and feel better. And you’ll stop being a health hazard to your family and the people around you.

Smoking poisons your body and over 80% of deaths from lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema (chronic breathing difficulty) are caused by smoking. It also causes a quarter of deaths from heart disease. But if you stop now, you'll start to reduce your risk of these and many other diseases. Smoking damages nearly every part of your body.

What if I just cut down rather than give up completely?

You can try but it probably won’t work. Smoking is highly addictive, which is why so many people find it so hard to stop. When you cut down you tend to compensate by taking more and deeper puffs on each cigarette to get your nicotine hit. You may also find over time the number of cigarettes you smoke gradually creeps up again. It’s only by stopping completely that you can beat the addiction.

I’m worried I’ll put weight on if I stop

Cigarettes do affect your appetite and your metabolism, and they dull your taste buds, so people often gain a few pounds when they give up. You can prevent that by doing more exercise (which should also help your mood) and staying away from high fat or calorie foods. But if you do gain a little weight, don’t worry, you can lose it again quite easily once you’ve quit smoking.

Why second-hand smoke such a health hazard

Non-smokers who breathe in other people’s cigarette smoke inhale over 4,000 chemicals, at least 50 of which are proven to cause cancer. For non-smokers, breathing other people’s smoke means an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. For children, second-hand smoke doubles the risk of chest illnesses, including pneumonia, bronchitis and croup (swollen airways in the lungs). It also increases occurrences of ear infections, wheezing and asthma. Children who live with smokers are also three times more likely to get lung cancer in later life compared with those who live with non-smokers.

I’m a social smoker?

Standing outside pubs, often in the cold, to have a cigarette could be the motivation you need to quit smoking.

The quitting timeline when you quit smoking

  • After 20 minutes your pulse and blood pressure return to normal levels.
  • After eight hours levels of nicotine and carbon monoxide in your blood are halved and your oxygen levels return to normal.
  • After 24 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body and your lungs start to clear.
  • After two days your body is free of nicotine and your sense of taste and smell improve.
  • After three days you can breathe more easily, the bronchial tubes relax and your energy levels increase.
  • After two to 12 weeks your circulation improves.
  • After three to nine months your lung function increases by up to 10%. Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve.
  • After one year your risk of a heart attack is now half that of a smoker.
  • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer is now half that of a smoker.