These Kentuckians and Hoosiers Stopped Smoking. So Can YOU!
TheseKentuckians and HoosiersStopped Smoking.So Can YOU!

Benefits When YOU Stop Smoking

Why quit smoking now?

No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier. People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who keep smoking. Ex-smokers enjoy a higher quality of life – they have fewer illnesses like colds and the flu, lower rates of bronchitis and pneumonia, and feel healthier than people who still smoke.

For decades the Surgeon General has reported the health risks linked to smoking. In 1990, the Surgeon General concluded:

  • Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people who already have smoking-related diseases and those who don’t.
  • Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking.
  • Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
  • Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
  • The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the small weight gain (usually less than 10 pounds) or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.

When smokers quit – what are the benefits over time?

20 minutes after quitting

Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

(Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension.2003:41:183)

12 hours after quitting

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting

Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)

1 to 9 months after quitting

Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)

1 year after quitting

The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)

5 years after quitting

Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.

(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease - The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking.IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)

10 years after quitting

The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease - The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)

15 years after quitting

The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

(Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting SmokingIARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)

These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Are there benefits of quitting that I’ll notice right away?

Kicking the tobacco habit offers some rewards that you’ll notice right away and some that will show up more slowly over time. These benefits can improve your day-to-day life a lot.

  • Food will taste better.
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal.
  • Your breath, hair, and clothes smell better.
  • Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).
  • You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.

Quitting also helps stop the damaging effects of tobacco on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss

Information above courtesy of the

American Cancer Society


by Nancy Philpott, RN



Think about all the poison you’re pumping into your system (and, again, paying outrageous prices to do so). No, wait, really think about it. If you smoke a pack a day, you’re taking 5-10 minutes per cigarette to ingest countless unknown chemicals into your body just to feel normal! That’s 100-200 minutes of slowly, painfully killing yourself. I mean, could you imagine sitting for 2-4 hours a day just breathing smoke?


Instead, think about how much better you could feel, how much more attractive you can become, how much easier you could breathe, and how much more confident you can feel. And all you have to do is stop wasting your precious time breathing strange chemicals. The idea is really starting to sell itself, right?


Feel Better without Cigarettes

Think about how much better you’ll feel. Without your reliance on cigarettes, you’ll have noticeably higher levels of energy. Sure, nicotine is a mild stimulant, but, as with all stimulants, over a long period of abuse your body needs the stimulant just to maintain normalcy.


Also, abuse of stimulants decreases levels of serotonin in the brain, causing depression and lack of energy. So, if you’re a smoker that needs cigarettes for the energy boost, think about how. If you were a nonsmoker, you could have that energy all the time!


Look Better and Younger without Smoking

It’s a proven fact that smoking actually ages your skin, as well. This might account for the concept that teens smoke in order to “look older.” Rapid aging is a terrible effect of smoking. Smoking increases visible wrinkles, ruins your complexion, and gives the skin an unhealthy, yellowish tint.


Stop Smoking and Breathe Easier

If you quit smoking, you’ll immediately notice that you can breathe easier. For one, the cilia in your lungs regain motility and actually remove the junk built up in your lungs. Now, you’ll be capable of taking long, deep breaths. You’ll notice that you are no longer winded from mild physical tasks, such as housework or walking up steps. Many people fear that they will gain weight when they quit smoking, but really your ability to do cardio will be greatly improved.


Increase Your Self-Esteem

Because of all these factors, when you quit smoking, you’ll feel more confident and have more self-esteem. You’ll be more attractive to positive, desirable people. You’ll feel better about your body. You won’t have to worry about the stale smoke smell in your clothes, hair, skin, car, home, etc. You’ll begin to shine with a happy, healthy glow that says, "I am a strong-willed person capable and willing to take care of my mind and body!"


Quit Smoking and Quit Making Excuses with More Confidence

Often, when we try to quit smoking, we rationalize and come up with ridiculous reasons why we should continue our old, unnecessary habits. We build up difficulties and obstacles in order to maintain the status quo and avoid the seemingly painful process of growth and change. But, if you keep the previous benefits in mind, those short-lived urges will seem like a small price to pay, indeed!

NOTE:  Within this website, we use the term “smoking” and “cigarettes;” however, the methods and programs discussed apply to tobacco use in all its forms including chewing and dipping.

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© Stop Smoking Kentucky / Stop Smoking Indiana--This website is maintained as a public service and is neither financed by nor associated any governmental agency. Images of people are for illustration purposes only and are used with permission. They are not intended to depict actual individuals.