The damage

Smoking is an extremely dangerous and damaging addiction. We’re sure you know quite a bit about this but it seems worthwhile to emphasise some of the facts:

Smoking causes:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attacks (2-3 times more likely in smokers vs. non-smokers)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT, clots in the legs)
  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • Cancers – lung cancer, laryngeal (voice box) cancer, pharyngeal (throat), cancer, nasopharyngeal (nose and throat) cancer, oesophageal (food pipe) cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (emphysema)

Smoking contributes to:

  • Osteoporosis (bone thinning that leads to fractures)
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Worsening asthma
  • Lung infections – bronchitis, pneumonia
  • Gum disease (causing loss of teeth)

So what happens if I quit?

This is really the big question. It’s all very well knowing that smoking is bad for you, but can the damage be reversed? The good news is that much of it can. Here’s some of what happens when you quit the habit:

  • Within 20 minutes after quitting, blood pressure and heart rate decrease
  • Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease to normal
  • Within 48 hours, nerve endings and sense of smell and taste both start recovering
  • Within 3 months, circulation and lung function improve
  • Within 9 months, there are decreases in cough and shortness of breath
  • Within 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
  • Within 5 years, the risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker, and the risks of many cancers (mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, cervix) decrease significantly
  • Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half, and the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers decrease
  • Within 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to the level of a non-smoker

When you smoke you are continually damaging your health. As SOON as you stop, the damage stops. It is quite literally about quitting while you’re ahead!