Benefits of quitting smoking

The earlier you quit smoking, the more you’re likely to benefit.

But it’s never too late – because quitting will improve your health whatever your age and no matter how long you have smoked.

Better physical health

Every time you smoke a cigarette, your body is flooded with thousands of chemicals, many of which are poisonous.

The day you stop, your body starts clearing itself of all those nasty toxins and the repair process begins.

You’ll notice some benefits within days or weeks:

  • your senses of taste and smell improve
  • you start to breathe more easily
  • you have more energy

Other benefits will follow, including:

  • better blood circulation to your heart and muscles, which will make physical activity easier
  • improved lung function, leading to reductions in any cough, wheezing or other breathing problems

Reduced risks of smoking-related diseases

Your longer-term risks of cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke will be significantly reduced, and:

  • after 1 year, risk of heart attack halves compared to a smoker’s
  • after 10 years, risk of death from lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker
  • after 15 years, risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked

You will also be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, bone disease including osteoporosis, eye disease and dementia.

Better mental health

You may think that smoking supports your mental wellbeing, and helps you to relax, deal with stress and anxiety, and cope with life’s difficulties.

In fact, the opposite is true. Stopping smoking boosts mental health and wellbeing.

Evidence shows that after the withdrawal stage of quitting, people have reduced anxiety, depression and stress.

People who have quit also have increased positive mood compared with people who continue to smoke.

Better for your family and friends

For some people, a big reason for stopping smoking is to be there for their family and friends.

If you have stopped smoking and are physically and mentally healthy, you’re more likely to be able to support your loved ones – and be a part of their life in the future.

Also, becoming a smoke-free role model means your children are much less likely to take up smoking.

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