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Why should I quit now?
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 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
- Atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries
- Gum disease
- Eye diseases that can lead to blindness
- Osteoporosis and the risk of hip fracture
- 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)
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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More information on Why should I quit now?
Explore other publications and websites
- ASCO Expert Corner: Questions and Myths About Quitting Smoking (Copyright © American Society of Clinical Oncology) - This site explores common concerns and myths faced by smokers who are attempting to quit. The website also includes a podcast that addresses the benefits of smoking cessation even after a smoker has been diagnosed with cancer.
- Chronic Bronchitis (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - This publication provides information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatments for chronic bronchitis.
- Chronic Bronchitis (Copyright © University of Virginia) - This publication provides information on the signs, symptoms, causes, and risk factors for bronchitis.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Fact Sheet (Copyright © American Lung Association) - This publication contains information on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and how it relates to both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It includes information on the severity, causes, development, treatment, and prevention.
- Learn About Your Risk From Smoking (Or the Risk of a Smoker You Know) - Smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, but few know how far-reaching the health effects can be. Use this tool to input information on your smoking history to receive a personalized risk profile.
- Patient's Fact Sheet: Smoking and Infertility (Copyright © American Society for Reproductive Medicine) - This fact sheet offers information about the impact of cigarette smoking on reproduction in women and on assisted reproductive therapy outcomes.
- Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health (Copyright © American Cancer Society) - This publication answers common questions about health and tobacco use. It provides information on the various health effects of smoking, addiction, and the harmful chemicals cigarettes contain.
- Smoking and Your Digestive System - This fact sheet explains the harmful effects that cigarette smoking can have on the digestive system, such as peptic ulcers, liver disease, and gallstones. It also explains how these negative effects can be reversed.
- Smoking Cessation - This fact sheet describes the short-term and long-term health benefits of quitting smoking and gives examples of some methods you can use to quit. It also has a list of resources you can use to help you along the way.
- Tobacco Cessation — You Can Quit Smoking Now! - This page describes the latest drugs and counseling techniques for treating tobacco dependence.
- What's So Bad About Tobacco? (Copyright © American Cancer Society) - This Internet Site provides fact sheets about various forms of tobacco use. Included is information on the health impact of tobacco on women and children specifically.
- When Smokers Quit—What Are the Benefits Over Time? (Copyright © American Cancer Society) - This online fact sheet provides details on how quitting smoking can decrease your health risks each and every day. The benefits are outlined from the immediate effects of quitting to 15 years of living smoke-free.
Connect with other organizations
Content last updated: July 16, 2012.
Resources last updated: September 25, 2013.
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