1. Smoking is bad for you and the people around you. It should come as no surprise that smoking is associated with an assortment of health problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, impotence, heart disease and various cancers. Second-hand smoke is no better. Second-hand smoke has 2x as much nicotine and tar in comparison to the smoke inhaled by smokers, and can increase the risk of lung cancer by 20%. Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as Crib Death) among babies.
2. The health benefits of quitting are almost immediate. Heart rate decreases 20 minutes after smoking, and the level of poisonous carbon monoxide drops to levels found in non-smokers 12 hours after quitting. The risk for heart attacks drops and lung function begins to improve anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months of butting out.
3. The health benefits of quitting increase the longer you are smoke-free. For example, one (1) to nine (9) months after quitting, shortness of breath and coughing subsides; and after one year the risk for coronary heart disease is half that of a frequent smoker’s. Ten (10) years after quitting, lung cancer death rate is about half that of a frequent smoker’s, and the risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas cancers decreases.
Think of these benefits as rewards and something to look forward to when trying to stick to a smoking cessation program.
4. Smoker’s Face. Smoker’s Face is a term used to describe the facial characteristics common among smokers. Smoking makes you look older than you actually are by promoting the formation of wrinkles, crow’s feet and by discolouring the skin to a yellow-grey. Smoking can age you by 10-20 years! An added bonus of quitting: no more yellow nails and teeth.
5. Smoking just isn’t cool anymore. Long gone are the days of the Marlboro Men who were tactfully employed by tobacco companies to present smoking as manly and desirable. As a matter of fact, three of the Marlboro men died of lung cancer. In these days of public health awareness and smoker-unfriendly patios and bars, it’s just easier to butt out if you don’t want to be left out in the cold.
For tips on how you can quit smoking, visit the Canadian Lung Association.