Kiss Your Butt Goodbye
Lighting up is just about the worst thing you can do to your breathing and your body. Which is why it’s so critical for people who smoke – with or without symptoms of lung disease – to quit. It’s not easy, but the Lung Health Foundation can help.
Reasons to quit
A great motivator as you make the decision to quit smoking is to write down the reasons you want to quit. Every smoker has their own reasons for quitting. Some common ones include:
- Improving your health: Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life. Non-smokers have a much lower risk of diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
- Saving money: Smoking is expensive! In early 2018, the price of a carton climbed to just more than $100 in Ontario.
- Avoiding the hassle: With non-smoking laws, lighting up means going outside in the cold or rain. It often means leaving the party or your family dinner to be by yourself.
- Helping friends and family: Second-hand smoke heightens the risk for colds, ear infections and pneumonia. It increases the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and lung diseases, such as COPD. Smoke exposure also worsens existing heart, lung or allergic conditions and increases the risk of cancer in family pets.
Benefits of quitting
- Your health improves within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, as your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- After eight hours: Your body’s carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) level drops and the oxygen level in your blood increases back to a normal level. Carbon monoxide in your blood causes shortness of breath and increased heart rate.
- After 48 hours: Your chances of having a heart attack start to decrease. Your senses of smell and taste begin to improve. The airways in your lungs relax allowing you to get more air into them to breathe easier.
- After two to three months: Your blood circulation improves and your lung functioning increases by up to 30 per cent.
- After one year: Your added risk of a smoking-related heart attack is cut in half.
- After 10 years: Your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
- After 15 years: Your risk of heart disease drops back down to that of a non-smoker. Your risk of dying from a heart attack is the same as a person who has never smoked.
Speak to an expert
Talk to your healthcare provider
Your healthcare provider can discuss medications to help you quit and educate you about local resources or support groups. They can help you create your quit plan and offer strategies to prevent future slip-ups. You also have the option to arrange follow-up visits or phone calls to assist you on your quit smoking journey.