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What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking Now?

The health risks of smoking have been known to the public since the middle of the last century, and science continues to support the knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. Organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have extensive information on the health risks of cigarettes. Some risks associated with smoking include:
  • Cancer: Smoking not only puts you at high risk for lung cancer, but also cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, bladder, kidneys, pancreas, and cervix.
  • Lung diseases: Smoking puts you at high risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). This includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Pneumonia can also be caused by smoking.
  • Heart attacks and strokes: People who smoke are twice as likely to die from heart attacks than people who don't smoke.  Smoking puts you at major  risk for peripheral vascular disease, which effects circulation of blood to leg and arm muscles.   Strokes can be caused by the effect of smoking on the walls of blood vessels to the brain.  Men who smoke are at risk of developing erectile dysfunction related to blood vessel disease.
  • Risks to women's health: Women who smoke and use birth control have a higher risk of stroke, blood clots of the legs, and heart attack.  Smokers are more likely to have a miscarriage or a baby with a low birth weight. 
It is never too late to quit smoking.  Quitting smoking now has immediate positive effects on your health:
  • A drop in heart rate and blood pressure occurs within 20 minutes of finishing your last cigarette.
  • Abstaining from cigarettes for 12 hours allows the carbon monoxide in your blood to return to normal levels. 
  • In the months after quitting your lungs will be regrow mucus-clearing cilia (tiny hairs), and coughing and shortness of breath will decrease. 
  • Only a few years after quitting, your risk of stroke will drop to the same risk as a non-smoker. 
  • If you have abstained from cigarettes for ten years, your risk of the cancers associated with smoking drops to half that of a person who continues to smoke. 
  • By the time you reach 15 years without cigarettes, your risk of coronary heart disease drops to that of non-smoker.
There are other reasons to quit now besides your health:
  • Smoking stains teeth and makes clothing and hair smell unpleasant.
  • Secondhand smoke is dangerous to children and others around you. 
  • Smoking is less tolerated in public than ever before, with most workplaces not allowing smoking on any parts of their campuses and many cities adopting smoking bans in restaurants and bars.
  • Cigarettes are expensive, and costs are rising. 
Now you know how the smoking vaccine and other stop smoking products work, and some great reasons to quit smoking.  Next, take a look at the development of the smoking vaccine, and when and where it might be available to you.