A vast majority of people stop smoking because of the indications it has on health. This is reasonable because smoking harms almost every organ on the human body and is very dangerous. Half of all smokers die due to the consequences of the addiction. In the Western countries, 14 percent of all deaths are caused by smoking. However, stopping smoking will increase the benefits on health and thus, lower the risk of heart attack and cancer.
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Lower risk for cancer
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data about the long-term side effects of smoking at the end of the 90’s. According to the findings, an average male smoker lives a 13,2 years shorter life than an average male who does not smoke. For women, the equivalent number was 14,5 years. These statistics don’t even include the effects of a lower quality of life such as chronic illnesses that are caused by smoking.1
Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. It also increases the risk of getting many other cancers in places, such as mouth, nose, throat, lips, larynx, oesophagus, bladder, liver, kidneys, palate, ovaries, abdomen, stomach, colon and rectum. It also increases the risk of leukaemia.2
Lower risk for COPD
Smoking is extremely harmful to the lungs and can cause several breathing-related problems. COPD is short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and it includes emphysema; chronic bronchitis; and in some cases, asthma. It refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and other breathing-related problems. In the worst case, it can be lethal. COPD is not an extremely rare condition with people under 40-years old but it is definitely more common with older people. The highest risk of developing these lung conditions is in people who have been smoking for long. They also suffer from pneumonia more often.3
Reduced circulation problems
Smoking causes blood circulation problems. Mostly, it has a weakening effect on the circulation of the arms and legs, but also on the carotid artery that leads to the brain. If this gets affected it can lead to a stroke. Also, the risk of getting a heart attack is double for smokers compared to others. In addition, impotence is caused by issues in the circulation and thus, smokers are more familiar with erectile problems. Smoking can also lead to macular degeneration of the eye which is the main reason for blindness in older people. In addition, smoking leads to faster ageing, bad breath, diseases of the jaw, premature tooth loss, bad smell in clothes and hair, dandruff and yellowing of the nails.4
Lower risk for miscarriage
Smoking causes problems also for women. A combination of cigarettes and birth control pills may pose a dangerous risk, especially for women over 35 years of age. The women in this group are at a greater risk of getting a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot on the leg. In addition, they have a greater risk of ectopic pregnancy that can lead to a death of the embryo and this is also dangerous for the mother. If the mother smokes while pregnant, the child is often born underweight and the newborn has a greater risk of dying or suffering from learning disabilities and other congenital defects. In the worst case, smoking can cause miscarriages.
Due to these risk factors, no smoking should occur during pregnancy. Every single cigarette smoked during pregnancy is poison for the child. A slow termination of smoking is, therefore, a worse option for a mother than to stop right then and there. Stories that a pregnant woman should not stop smoking because of the stress it would cause on the embryo are lies.5
Higher life expectancy
The biggest benefit of smoking cessation is, of course, the fact that it can significantly extend life expectancy. An average smoker reduces their lifespan voluntarily for more than a decade. It does not matter at what stage your life you will stop smoking, the benefits are in any case huge. Studies showcase that if you quit smoking before you turn 50 years of age, the probability of dying in the next 50 years is halved. Non-smokers also have a significantly better quality of life because they suffer less from illnesses and feel better physically.
The benefits of smoking cessation begin to emerge within hours from the last cigarette.6
After 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal.
12 hours after the last tobacco, the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood is returned to normal.
1-9 months later the blood circulation and pulmonary capacity will recover.
1 year after the last cigarette, the risk of heart disease is half of what it is when smoking.
After 5 years of discontinuation, the likelihood of mouth, throat, larynx and bladder cancer has dropped to half of what they are when smoking.
Ten years after smoking the last cigarette, the risk of getting cancer has halved.
After 15 years of quitting, the risk of having a heart attack is at the same level as on a person who has not smoked ever in their life.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing diabetes, improves blood circulation and strengthens the heart and lungs. The benefits of quitting while young are major, but nevertheless, quitting is always worth it, whatever the age. In any case, smoking continues to take away several years from the lifespan.
In addition to the health benefits, the financial benefits of quitting are also considerable, it is a very expensive hobby. It is not difficult to count how much money smoking has ended up costing. Just count the number of cigarettes smoked per day and multiply it with 365. Many are surprised by how much money this habit actually costs. If you want additional motivation, you should count how much money cigarettes consume in ten years and then think about what else you could do with that amount of money.
In addition, smoking is now less socially accepted than a few years ago. Legislation has led to strict regulations and to the ban of smoking in many public places.
It is no secret that smoking does not only harm the person doing it, but also the surroundings. In passive smoking, people not only breathe in cigarette smoke but also smoke exhaled by the smoker. Also, passive smoking causes lung cancer. It can also lead to headaches, nausea and dizziness. Children who grow up in families who smoke suffer much more from asthma, ear infections, nosebleeds, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. Passive smoking can disturb the child’s lung development and lead to cot death. A parent is always a role model for his/her child and most of the smokers hope that their children will not start smoking. The likelihood that smokers children also start to smoke themselves is nevertheless greater. The best way to prevent this is to stop yourself. Read more about stop smoking here.