If you use tobacco, there are compelling reasons for you to quit. The rewards of quitting are tremendous, and they begin immediately. You’ll experience the benefits of not using tobacco within 20 minutes of quitting, and as your tobacco-free days accumulate, the benefits will accumulate, too. Quitting tobacco will improve your health, your finances, your self-esteem and your everyday life – immediately and over the long term – in ways you may never have imagined.
Quit for Your Health
Immediately after quitting smoking, heart rate and blood pressure, which is abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal.
Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide, which reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, begins to decline.
Within a few weeks, circulation improves, you don’t produce as much phlegm, and you don’t cough or wheeze as often.
The workload on the heart is decreased and cardiac function is improved.
Food tastes better, and your sense of smell returns to normal.
Everyday activities no longer leave you out of breath.
Within several months of quitting, you experience significant improvements in lung function.
In one year, your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is halved.
In five years, many kinds of cancer, including lung, larynx, mouth, stomach, cervix, bladder, show decline in risk, and that decline approaches the risk of someone who has never smoked.
Within 10 to 15 years, risk of lung disease, including bronchitis and emphysema, are decreased.
Conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, thyroid conditions, hearing loss, dementia, and osteoporosis are positively affected.
Nerve endings in the mouth and nose begin to regenerate, improving taste and smell.
Medications may work better, enabling some to be taken in decreased doses.
If you’re taking birth control pills, quitting smoking will decrease your chance of heart attack and stroke due to clotting.
You’ll have decreased risk for impotence and infertility.
If you’re pregnant, you’ll protect your unborn child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and low birth weight.
Years will be added to your life: people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness.
Quit for Your Finances
Smoking is expensive. In fact, the amount of money you spend on smoking may surprise you.
Multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 to see what you spend every year on smoking.
Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco.
Then, multiply the cost per year by 10 for the upcoming 10 years.
If you’re a one-pack-per-day smoker, you’ll probably save over $15,000. Ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money!
There are other financial benefits, too. You’ll pay less for health and life insurance. You’ll incur fewer costs due to tobacco-related problems, medical bills, and frequent trips to the doctor.
If you quit smoking, you will also decrease the chance of fatal fires and serious burns. And because you aren’t making late-night trips to the store for cigarettes, you’ll gain more freedom and time – the cost of which can be immeasurable.
Quit for Your Looks
The cosmetic benefits of quitting smoking can be a major motivator, especially when you consider the unpleasant short- and long-term effects smoking has on how you look.
When you quit smoking:
your breath will smell better
stained teeth will get whiter
your clothes and hair will smell better
your fingers and fingernails will no longer look yellow
you’ll have better oral health
you’ll have a better chance for fewer skin wrinkles
Chances Are, You’ll Look Younger
Because your skin and teeth will look better, you may start to look younger. A study from the University of Zurich even found a correlation between gray hair and being a smoker – chemicals may damage cells in hair follicles or constrict the blood vessels that supply them. They can also constrict blood vessels in the face, leading to a yellow pallor and a breakdown in elasticity – and that can happen in the 20s in the same way it happens to someone in their 30s.
The good news is, quitting can start to reverse the signs of an aging face within two weeks.
You’ll Look Better to Yourself – and to Others
If you are dating, you’ll look like a better partner. Because, as a smoker, your dating pool is largely limited to other smokers, who make up only about 21% of the adult population, you’ll have more options as a non-smoker.
You’ll look better to your landlord as a tenant. Maintenance costs and insurance rates may rise when smokers occupy buildings.
You’ll look better to your employer. You’ll cost him or her less in health insurance, smoking breaks and lost time.
You’ll become a positive role model to your children. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves.
You’ll also have more energy, enhanced self-esteem brought on by a real sense of accomplishment, and you’ll feel more in control of your life – and that looks good on everyone.
Quit for the People in Your Life
By quitting smoking, you are protecting those you love. Smoking not only harms your health, but it hurts the health of those around you: exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease in healthy nonsmokers.
If a mother smokes, there is a higher risk of her baby developing asthma in childhood, especially if she smoked while she was pregnant. Smoking is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low-birth-weight infants. Babies and children raised in a household where there is smoking have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis, and other lung and breathing problems than children from nonsmoking families. Secondhand smoke can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Special Reasons to Quit
For those especially vulnerable to the health effects of smoking, the reasons to quit escalate.
Quitting decreases the chances of other drug use.
For those with diabetes, heart disease, COPD, asthma, or cardiovascular disease, quitting reduces hospital stays, limits complications, and helps the effectiveness of certain medications.
For pregnant women and new mothers, quitting protects your baby’s health.
For hospitalized patients, quitting promotes healing.
For heart attack patients, quitting reduces the risk of a second heart attack.
For lung, head and neck cancer patients, quitting reduces chances of a second cancer.
For parents, quitting protects children from illnesses caused by secondhand smoke and reduces the likelihood they will start smoking.