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The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial:
Heart rate and blood pressure, which are abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal.
Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. (Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.)
Within a few weeks, people who quit smoking have improved circulation, produce less phlegm, and don’t cough or wheeze as often.
Within several months of quitting, people can expect substantial improvements in lung function (21).
Within a few years of quitting, people will have lower risks of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases than if they had continued to smoke.
In addition, people who quit smoking will have an improved sense of smell, and food will taste better.
What are the long-term benefits of quitting smoking?
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer and many other diseases, such as heart disease and COPD, caused by smoking.
Data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey show that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness than those who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit before age 40 reduced their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases by about 90 percent, and those who quit by age 45-54 reduced their chance of dying prematurely by about two-thirds (22).
People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, have substantial gains in life expectancy compared with those who continue to smoke. Those who quit between the ages of 25 and 34 years lived about 10 years longer; those who quit between ages 35 and 44 lived about 9 years longer; those who quit between ages 45 and 54 lived about 6 years longer; and those who quit between ages 55 and 64 lived about 4 years longer
Effects caused by cigarette smoking?
Smoking has been found to harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and diminishes a person’s overall health.
Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia (1-3).
Smoking causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in an artery in the chest), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts, and worsens asthma symptoms in adults. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other airway infections (1-3). In addition, smoking causes inflammation and impairs immune function (1).
Since the 1960s, a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer or COPD has actually increased compared with nonsmokers, even though the number of cigarettes consumed per smoker has decreased (1). There have also been changes in the type of lung cancer smokers develop – a decline in squamous cell carcinomas but a dramatic increase in adenocarcinomas. Both of these effects may be due to changes in the formulation of cigarettes (1).
Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant. A pregnant smoker is at higher risk of miscarriage, having an ectopic pregnancy, having her baby born too early and with an abnormally low birth weight, and having her baby born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate (1). A woman who smokes during or after pregnancy increases her infant’s risk of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (2, 3). Men who smoke are at greater risk of erectile dysfunction (1, 6).
Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause about 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States (1). Of these premature deaths, about 36 percent are from cancer, 39 percent are from heart disease and stroke, and 24 percent are from lung disease (1). Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in this country.
Regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting.
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