The Benefits of Stopping Smoking

Your lungs will thank you.
Imagine, for a moment, being inside your lungs, watching the millions of tiny hairs called cilia do their job of filtering out impurities. Then, observe as the smoke from one cigarette invades the lungs, paralyzing the cilia for 24 hours. In long-term smokers, the cilia are wiped out.

What happens to the impurities then? The smoker tries to cough them out, but eventually, the invading matter irritates the lungs, and germs reproduce and invade the body tissue. And that’s just the start of it.

Your body will thank you.
Tobacco smoke consists of several dangerous compounds, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, tars, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, cadmium, hydrogen cyanide, pyridine, and arsenic.

Consider nicotine: A powerful, quick-acting stimulant, nicotine makes your body react the same way it would if you suddenly saw a large truck bearing down on you. In a “fight or flight” response to imminent danger, your body secretes adrenaline, which increases your blood pressure and heart rate. It also increases fat levels in your blood. The difference is that if you were actually fleeing from a truck, the physical exertion would burn up the blood gases. But after a cigarette, they just stay there and get deposited in the blood vessels, which can lead to heart and vessel disease, blood clotting, and possibly a heart attack.

Some of the other compounds in cigarette smoke, like carbon monoxide, actually push the oxygen out of your red blood cells. Tar causes cancer. Nitrogen dioxide irritates your lungs. Hydrogen cyanide attacks respiratory enzymes. Besides heart disease, smokers are susceptible to emphysema, as well as all kinds of cancers, not to mention osteoporosis, wrinkled skin, and accelerated aging.

When it comes to tobacco, there’s no question about it. Your body is better off without it.

Your family will thank you.
An idling cigarette spews off much higher concentrations of toxic substances than inhaled smoke—twice as much nicotine and tar, three times as much benzopyrene (a suspected cancer-causing agent), five times as much carbon monoxide and 50 times as much ammonia. Just breathing that smoke-laden air can cause your nonsmoking family members to have elevated heart rates and blood pressure.

Besides the health dangers it presents, burning tobacco smoke also clings to clothes. Not only do your family members suffer the adverse effects of smoking—they end up smelling like smokers, too.

You’ll reduce your risks.
Quitting smoking reduces your health risks in both immediate and long-term ways. To find out more, view our chart that shows the most dangerous risks that smoking poses to your health, and how quitting will reduce those risks.

For more information:
Smoking: You CAN kick the habit – and we can help
Learn more about our tobacco counseling service