- Why is it so hard to quit smoking?
- How does smoking affect your health?
- Why quit smoking now?
- When smokers quit – what are the benefits over time?
- What are the immediate rewards of quitting smoking?
- Getting help with the mental part of addiction
- Getting help with the physical part of addiction
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- What are the types of nicotine replacement therapy?
- Choosing and using nicotine replacement therapy
- Prescription drugs to help you quit smoking
- Other methods of quitting smoking
- A word about success rates for quitting smoking
- Steps for long-term success
- Making the decision to quit smoking
- Setting a quit smoking date and making a plan
- Dealing with smoking withdrawal
- Staying smoke-free
- Special concerns after quitting smoking
- To learn more
What are the immediate rewards of quitting smoking?
Kicking the tobacco habit offers some benefits that you’ll notice right away and some that will develop over time. These rewards improve most peoples’ day-to-day lives a great deal:
- Breath smells better
- Stained teeth get whiter
- Bad smell in clothes and hair go away
- Yellow fingers and fingernails disappear
- Food tastes better
- Sense of smell returns to normal
- Everyday activities (such as climbing stairs or light housework) no longer leave them out of breath
- They can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.
The prospect of better health is a major reason for quitting, but there are other reasons, too.
Smoking is expensive. It isn’t hard to figure out how much you spend on smoking: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably shock you.
Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the next 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money.
And this doesn’t include other possible costs, such as higher costs for health and life insurance, and likely health care costs due to tobacco-related problems.
Smoking is less socially acceptable now than ever. This can cost you in terms of friends, money, and convenience.
Today, almost all workplaces have some type of smoking rules. Some employers even prefer to hire non-smokers. Studies show smoking employees cost businesses more. In fact, one 2013 study found that for each employee who successfully quits tobacco, an employer can expect to see an annual savings of about $5,800. Employees who smoke tend to be out sick more. Employees who are ill more often than others can raise an employer’s need for costly short-term replacement workers. They can increase insurance costs for other employees and for the employer, who often pays part of the workers’ insurance premiums. Regular smoking breaks mean time away from work. Smokers in a building also can increase the maintenance costs of keeping odors down, since residue from cigarette smoke gets into to carpets, drapes, and other fabrics.
Smoking is banned in most public elementary and secondary school buildings and, in many states, it’s banned on school campuses. It’s common for colleges and universities to have no-smoking policies for all campus buildings, including residential housing. And many are moving toward smoke-free campuses, even in outdoor areas.
Landlords may choose not to rent to smokers since maintenance costs and insurance rates may go up when smokers live in buildings. Resale values are lower on buildings, homes, and cars that smell like old smoke.
Friends may ask you not to smoke in their homes or cars. Public buildings, concerts, and even sporting events are largely smoke-free. And more and more communities are restricting smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. Like it or not, finding a place to smoke can be a hassle.
Smokers may also find their prospects for dating or romantic involvement, including marriage, are largely limited to other smokers. Cigarette smokers now make up about 18% of the adult population.
Health of others
Smoking not only harms your health but it hurts the health of those around you. Exposure to secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking) includes exhaled smoke as well as smoke from burning cigarettes.
Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer in healthy non-smokers. Over the past 50 years, this amounts to more than 2.5 million deaths from secondhand smoke.
If a mother smokes, there is a higher risk of her baby developing asthma in childhood, especially if she smoked while she was pregnant. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with cleft lip, cleft palate, and low birth weight.
Babies and children raised in a household where there is smoking have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis, and problems with breathing than children in non-smoking families. Secondhand smoke is linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and slow lung growth in children. Secondhand smoke can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
To learn more, please see our document called Secondhand Smoke.
Setting an example
If you have children, you probably want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokers say they don’t want their children to smoke. But children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can become a better role model for them by quitting now.
Last Medical Review: 02/06/2014
Last Revised: 02/06/2014