Why Should I Quit

Written by
Dr. Arjun Randhawa
PharmD, RPh, ACPR
Please talk to your healthcare provider if you have any medical questions or concerns. Information presented in the CareGuide articles is only meant for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Effects of smoking

It's easy to lose sight of the benefits of quitting when a strong craving hits, but there is no good reason to smoke. When you smoke, or use any nicotine products, you increase your risk for many diseases and decrease your life expectancy. 

As you use nicotine products, you may find yourself coughing throughout the day, experiencing shortness of breath with minimal exercise, having an increased blood pressure and heart rate, and being irritable. While you may not feel it, your risk for heart attacks and strokes is 2-3x higher when compared to a non-smoker. Your risk for many cancers such as lung, pancreatic, stomach, cervical and colon cancer are also much higher while you smoke. Not only is the chance for detrimental diseases higher when you smoke, but the likelihood of overall death is increased. On average, 100 Canadians die everyday from smoking related-illnesses, which could have been prevented by quitting.

After quitting

This sounds scary... BUT once you choose to quit you can add years to your life! Here are some of the ways your body starts to heal once you quit:

  • 20 minutes after you quit: Heart rate and blood pressure drop
  • Within 48 hours your sense of smell and taste start to improve
  • After 12 hours the oxygen levels in your blood return to normal
  • Within 72 hours breathing gets easier as your airways relax
  • After 2-3 weeks your circulation improves and your lung function increases by as much as 30% making things like exercise easier
  • After 1-9 months Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Fewer colds, runny nose and fatigue
  • After 1 year your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your risk of smoking related heart attacks drops by 50%
  • After 5 years your risk of stroke can fall to that of a non-smoker
  • After 10 years your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of pancreatic cancer also decreases
  • After 15 years your risk of heart attack is equal to that of a non-smoker

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