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Smoking and How To Quit

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Why should I quit now?

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Share your story

Read or share personal stories about the effects of smoking and quitting.

Most women smokers say they want to quit. So how do you move from wanting to quit to actually quitting? A first step is to find reasons to quit that are important to you. Consider the many good reasons to quit smoking.

Your health

Your health begins to improve the minute you stop smoking, and you begin to lower your long-term risk of many smoking-related diseases. Smoking causes or can contribute to many serious health problems, including:

  • Cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, voice box, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, uterus, stomach, and blood
  • Lung diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries
  • Gum disease
  • Eye diseases that can lead to blindness
  • Osteoporosis and the risk of hip fracture

Smoking also:

  • Makes illnesses last longer
  • Causes more wound infections after surgery
  • Makes it harder to get pregnant
Why does birth weight matter?

Low-birth-weight babies are more likely to die or have serious health problems. They are also more likely to have long-term disabilities, such as problems seeing or hearing.

Smoking during pregnancy can hurt the mother and baby. It increases the risk of:

  • Placenta previa — when the placenta covers part of or the entire cervix inside of the uterus. This can lead to bed rest, early labor, and cesarean section.
  • Placental abruption — the placenta separates too early from the wall of the uterus. This can lead to early labor or infant death.
  • Early rupture of membranes, or water breaking, before labor starts, so the baby is born too early
  • A baby with a low birth weight
  • Damage to an infant's lungs
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth

For more information on the effects of quitting smoking, see What happens to your body when you quit smoking?

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Your quality of life

When you quit, you will never again have to leave your workplace, your home, or other places to smoke. You won't need to worry about whether your smoke is bothering others. The money you would have spent on cigarettes can be saved or used to buy other things. Plus, you will be surprised by how good you feel overall. Over time, some of the ways you will look and feel better are:

  • You will breathe more easily.
  • You will have more energy.
  • Your lungs will be stronger, making it easier to be active.
  • You will be able to smell and taste things better.
  • You hair, breath, and clothes will smell better.
  • The stain marks on your fingers will fade.
  • Your skin will look healthier.
  • Your teeth and gums will be healthier.
  • You will feel good about being able to quit!

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Other people's health

When you quit, you no longer create secondhand smoke, which is harmful to the people around you, and especially children. When you quit, you become a role-model to children and other smokers who want to quit. When you quit, your own children are less likely to grow up to become smokers themselves.

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Content last updated: July 16, 2012.

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