Smoking takes the lives of more than 37,000 Canadians each year. To put that in perspective, that's more deaths than suicide, murder, HIV, and motor vehicle accidents combined. So the simple answer to "Why is it beneficial to quit smoking?" is it can save, or at least prolong, your life.
In addition, smoking contributes to a multitude of health problems. By quitting, many of them can be avoided. Here's a list of the serious health conditions that smoking is closely linked with.
- lung cancer and other respiratory conditions
- heart attack and stroke
- several forms of cancer, including mouth, throat, stomach, bladder, cervical, and kidney cancer
- dental problems like gum disease
- fertility issues
The new you
Once a smoker quits, improvements in their overall health take shape very quickly.
For instance, within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure return to levels near those before your last cigarette.
After 8 hours, carbon monoxide levels in your body return to normal.
Within 48 hours, your chances of having a heart attack begin to decrease.
After as little as 72 hours, you start to breathe easier. You will also feel less tired and will not experience extreme shortness of breath, especially while exercising.
And a year later, your risk of heart disease will have dropped by 50%.
Other benefits of quitting include being able to taste and smell food better, having better breath, and eliminating the smell of stale smoke from your clothes, your car and your home.
Long-term effects of quitting smoking are even more beneficial. For example, within 10 years of quitting, your risk of dying from lung cancer will decrease by half. Also, your risk of dying from a heart attack will return to the level of a person who never smoked.To learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking, talk to your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist.
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