Why Should I Stop Smoking?

Why Should I Stop Smoking

Benefits of Smoking Cessation:

It is a known fact that there are numerous benefits after one quits smoking.

  • It lowers your chances of:
    • Coronary heart disease
    • Lung diseases
    • Kidney failure
    • Infections
    • Even cancer
  • The skin becomes softer and the facial wrinkles may improve
  • It can improve your sex life and builds more stamina to do physical activities
  • It reduces the chances of getting osteoporosis- a debilitating condition which weakens the bones
  • Can improve fertility and erectile dysfunction
  • Healthier teeth and gums
  • Reduction in pregnancy risks and complications
  • Taste of food and drinks improve
  • Improved self esteem

Quitting smoking will definitely improve your health and the effects will be visible from the first day.

The sooner you stop smoking, the greater the reduction in the risk of getting serious diseases. If you stop before the age of 50, your risk of premature death can eventually be the same as that of a non-smoker.

Composition of Smoke:

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including over 50 known causes of cancer (carcinogens) and other poisons.


Nicotine is the main chemical which makes you addicted to cigarettes and tobacco. Nicotine enters the bloodstream and stimulates the brain. Since nicotine is addictive, you will continue to smoke. The urges arise when the blood level of nicotine falls and leads to withdrawal symptoms in the person who is quitting. The withdrawal symptoms can be any or all of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased Hunger
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation

These symptoms get relieved one a cigarette is lit, which defines nicotine addiction.

Withdrawal symptoms appear within the first hour of quitting and peak after about 24 hours. After which, the symptoms begin to ease out and totally cease in about 2-4 weeks.

The main reason why few smokers succeed in quitting is the strong nicotine addiction of the body and easy access to tobacco products. For chronic smokers, the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), e-cigarettes or a smoking cessations medicine, results in higher success compared to stopping abruptly.

Tar in smoke

Tar is the blackish deposit on the lungs which gets into the blood vessels, and be carried to other parts of the body.

Carbon monoxide

This gas reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It is particularly harmful in pregnant women who smoke or are exposed to passive smoking.

Smoking in pregnancy

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of:

  • Miscarriage and stillbirth within the first week of life – the risk is increased by about one third if the mother was a smoker
  • Complications of pregnancy, including bleeding during pregnancy, detachment of the ‘afterbirth’ (placenta), premature birth, and ectopic pregnancy
  • Congenital defects in the baby – such as cleft palate and asthma
  • Low birth weight. Babies born to women who smoke are on average 8 oz lighter than babies born to comparable non-smoking mothers. Premature and low-birth-weight babies are more prone to illness and infections

Passive smoking

Children, non-smoking adults and unborn babies can all be affected by your smoke. Children who live in a household with a smoker are more likely to inhale smoke and develop various health problems than children who don’t.

Problems of Smoking:

  • Smoking is an expensive habit
  • The smell of tobacco spoils the smoker’s breath, clothes, hair, skin and the entire house smells of stale tobacco. Non-smokers find this smell is very unpleasant
  • The smoker’s sense of taste and sense of smell are dulled. There’s reduced enjoyment of food and drinks

Benefits of stopping smoking in the long run:

The benefits outweigh the troubles which are taken towards kicking the habit of smoking from your life. The major benefits include:

  • You will start to look younger, and your life expectancy goes up
  • Your health improves, with a sense of renewed vitality
  • Lots of money and time is saved, by not spending it on cigarettes

How can I stop smoking?

The first step towards this is to believe in yourself. Smoking is an acquired habit and can be reversed easily. As smoking is very addictive, it usually overpowers a person’s will power, but there are lots of medications to help you to stop, viz. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT),E-cigarettes, Varenicline (Champix®) and Bupropion (Zyban®).

The acronym “START” can be followed to take the steps towards quitting the habit

S = Set a quit date.
T = Tell people around you, friends & family, that you have quit smoking.
A = Anticipate and plan for the problems you may face while quitting.
R = Remove all packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products from your reach.
T = Talk to a professional, or one who has successfully quit, about getting help.

Health Benefits over time:

Time after Quitting Smoking Health Benefit:
72 hours Breathing becomes smoother and easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase. Oxygen levels in the body improve.
1 Month Skin appearance improves. Increased stamina.
3 – 6 Months Cough, wheezing, and breathing problems cease. Lung function increases by up to 10%.
1 year Risk of a heart attack falls by 50% compared to that of a smoker.
10 years Risk of lung cancer falls by 50% compared to that of a smoker.
15 years Risk of heart attack falls to the same level as that of a non-smoker

If you would like to stop smoking or get some advice, the Doctors at CheckUp Health are always happy to help! Download the CheckUp Health app now and book a video or audio call with a private GP, daytime or evening, 7 days/week.

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