Why Stop Smoking [Video and Infographic]

By Val Silver

Why stop smoking? Health and longevity are top reasons to stop smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other substances. Smoking related illnesses seriously diminish your lifespan and quality of life, and your second-hand smoke can harm those closest to you. 

You probably have a number of reasons why you want to continue smoking.

It is your right, you know favorable statistics, and know old-timers who puffed away until dying of old age.

Perhaps the trade-offs of compromised endurance, coughing, blunted taste buds and a few extra yearly colds are a small price to pay for the ‘pleasure factor’.

Some argue that an occasional home rolled organic smoke poses no harm and may have health benefits. To your surprise, they may be correct.

The problem is not the occasional indulgence. The problem is smoking throughout the day every day. 

This "Why Stop Smoking" page is dedicated to a man named Steve. He died prematurely at age 50 after a valiant fight with lung cancer.

Why stop smoking? He would tell you to quit so that you can live. 

Reasons to stop smoking

The number one reasons to stop smoking cigarettes is to improve your health and save your life. Over the years, negative effects take their toll and can lead to serious disease and death.

The American Heart Association names smoking as the primary cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. Of approximately 2.4 million yearly deaths, about 440,000 are smoking-related.

A smoker's lifespan is cut short by approximately 10 years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that smoking takes one in five lives 14 years before the national average.  The Nurse’s Health Study showed that 64% of smoking nurses died from related illnesses.

A 50 year English study initiated in 1951 concluded that smoking kills half of all smokers. Fifty percent die before or around age 50. 

Why stop smoking: related illnesses

Modern cigarettes come at a high price to your wallet, your health, and your longevity.

Chemicals, how cigarettes are processed and nicotine are behind smoking related illnesses and addiction.

Commercial cigarettes are made with pesticide-laced tobacco contaminated with 40 documented carcinogens and approximately 1000 chemical additives of varying toxicity including ammonia, ethyl alcohol and formaldehyde. They burn hot and fast to promote nicotine delivery, absorption and addiction. 

Smoking causes cancer.

Carcinogenic, super-heated chemicals get inhaled and deposited in your lungs as tar. These toxins also circulate through your organs and bone marrow via your bloodstream. They enter your digestive tract via saliva and mucus.

If you are a smoker, one of the best reasons to stop smoking is to take the burden of your body detox system so it can better do its job of getting damaging toxins out of your body.

Lung cancer kills over one million people a year worldwide. Approximately 85% were smokers. Despite aggressive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the five year survival rate in the U.S. is less than 15%. A 2006 European study revealed lung cancer among 24.4% of males smoking five plus cigarettes a day.

The younger you start, the higher the risk. Risk also depends on ‘pack years' - the number of daily packs multiplied by the years you smoke. Two packs a day for 10 years logs you 20 pack years.

Smoking is a contributing or direct cause of 30% of all cancers. It claimed 30% of pancreatic cancers and 12% of colon cancer fatalities. It raises your risk of stomach, kidney, cervical and ovarian cancers. Smokers are five times more likely to get head and throat cancers, and three times more likely to get squamous cell skin cancer. 

If the risk of multiple cancers was the only reason to stop smoking cigarettes, that would be reason enough. But there are other health risks of smoking. 

Heart Disease

Research shows smokers are at higher risk for heart disease. Smoking damages artery cells, leading to coronary artery disease and strokes. Long-term smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers. Inhaling second-hand smoke has the same effects.

Inhaling smoke damages hair-like extensions on the cells called cilia. Cilia moves fluid such as blood around your body. Damaged cilia hinder circulation. 

Lung Problems

Smoking causes damage, inflammation and irritation in the lungs. This increases  mucus production, making smokers more susceptible to lung infections.

Long-term smokers and those living with them are at risk for emphysema and COPD.

One in four smokers eventually get emphysema or other lung diseases.

smoking related illnesses, lung with tar

Other health problems:

  • Smokers are more susceptible to thin bones, fractures, and joint problems.
  • Pregnant smokers are at higher risk of miscarriage and premature births, and infants are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Toxic compounds in cigarettes damage elastin and collagen, making skin sag and wrinkle prematurely. 

Side Effects of Nicotine

Nicotine is an antiherbivore chemical found in tobacco that protects the plants from insects.

Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow in the outer layers of skin. Less blood flow means less oxygenation and nutrient delivery. 

This highly addictive substance changes the workings of your brain and body. It acts on all body tissues. It stimulates and regulates the release of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and causes your adrenal glands to release adrenaline. Adrenaline (or epinephrine) is released as part of the body’s response to stress.

why stop smoking, side effects of nicotine

Why stop smoking? Quit smoking facts and benefits

The earlier you cut way back or quit smoking, the better chance you have to save your life and your health. Positive changes begin happening within minutes of quitting and are cumulative over the years.

According to the American Heart Association, longevity improves the earlier you quit. 35-39 year old individuals add an average of 6-9 years. 65-69 year old adults add one to four years to their lives. A long-term Cancer Research UK study of a million women showed that quitting by age 40 cuts your risk of dying from smoking by 90%.

Only one day as a non-smoker, lowers your heart attack risk. Within months, your energy level goes up and your body begins to resist and heal from smoking related illnesses and toxicity.

In addition to significant health benefits, there are more reasons to stop smoking. These include smelling better, whiter teeth, a better sense of smell and taste, more pleasant breath, a healthier living environment, and a lot more disposable income.

You can quit. Learn about  natural stop smoking methods that make quitting easier.

Why Stop Smoking Video and Infographic

Quit Smoking

Source: What Happens to Your Body When You Smoke?

Why Stop Smoking page updated 12/2020

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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