“Why should I quit smoking? It helps me relax, gives me energy, lots of my friends smoke, it stops me from gaining weight, etc?” If this is you, consider the following reasons to quit.
1. Quit for your health
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada, responsible for 45,000 deaths a year, of which about 40% are from various cancers, 35% are from heart disease and stroke and 25% are from other lung diseases. Quitting can add as much as 10 years to your life. And the health benefits to quitting are immediate (see sidebar).
2. Quit for your looks
When you become a non-smoker, your breath will smell better, your stained teeth will get whiter, your clothes and hair will smell better, your fingers and nails will no longer look yellow, you’ll have better oral health and it’s likely that you’ll develop fewer skin wrinkles. Your relationships with non-smokers will also improve.
3. Quit for your savings
Have you ever calculated what smoking costs you? Take the cost of a pack of cigarettes, multiply by the number of packs you smoke a day, then multiply by 7 (for a week) and by 52 (for a year). Example: if a pack of cigarettes costs $10 and you are a pack-a-day smoker, your annual cost to smoke is $3,640. Now think about what else you could do with that money if you were a non-smoker! Non-smokers get lower insurance rates too.
4. Quit for the people in your life
When you quit smoking, you are also improving the health of people around you – exposure to second-hand smoke can also kill. If a mother smokes, there is a greater risk of her baby developing asthma in childhood, especially if she smokes when she is pregnant. Smoking is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome and low birth weight babies. Children raised in a household where there is smoking have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis and other lung and breathing problems. And, you’ll be a positive role model for your children.
5. Quit for your convenience
You won’t have to drive with the windows down or smoke outside in the cold or wet weather!
Whatever it may give you, smoking takes away much more. So consider the benefits to quitting. And if you decide to quit, help is available. For help quitting, speak to your Pharmacist or Doctor. They can counsel you and help you develop a quit plan.
- Quit and your health improves immediately. Within 8 hours, the carbon monoxide level drops in your body and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal
- Within 48 hours, your chances of having a heart attack start to go down and your sense of smell and taste begin to improve
- Within 72 hours, your lung capacity increases and breathing becomes easier
- Within 2 weeks to 3 months, blood circulation improves and your lung functioning increases up to 30 percent
- Within 6 months, coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath improve
- Within 1 year, your risk of suffering a smoking-related heart attack is cut in half
- Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
- Within 15 years, the risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked