The reasons for quitting smoking are as varied as the reasons for starting. Everyone’s quitting journey is slightly different, and your motivations may vary, depending on your age, budget, health and social connections. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to quit. You haven’t missed the boat. And the only person who can really take that leap, and change your lifestyle for the better, is you.
Here are just a few reasons why you should quit smoking. As always, it’s best to get qualified medical advice before beginning your quitting journey.
It’s hard to overstate the negative health effects of smoking cigarettes. Research estimates that two in three lifetime smokers will die from a disease linked to their smoking. If there’s a single factor that motivates you to quit, it should probably be health.
The research in this area is quite robust, and we’ve known the positive effects of smoking cessation for a while. Quitting can reduce your risk of cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, cataracts and common colds. Your blood pressure will most likely decrease, and you’ll find it easier to breathe.
This isn’t one that gets talked about much, but smoking cigarettes can drastically affect your hygiene and overall appearance. In fact, studies have shown that smoking leads to skin pigmentation, premature skin ageing and delays in healing wounds.
It also leaves an unpleasant odour on your clothes and skin. Smoking has been shown to impair olfactory function, and the duration of that damage isn’t fully understood yet. By quitting, you’ll smell better – literally.
Smoking isn’t just damaging your physical health, it can affect your mood too. This is mostly down to nicotine, which has been shown to increase levels of stress and anxiety over time. And not just when you experience cravings.
The good news is, research indicates that smoking cessation can significantly reduce anxiety, depression and stress. And while cutting off nicotine can affect your sleep, your overall sleep quality should improve in the long term. It’s worth bearing in mind, you may experience some short-lived insomnia. This is totally normal.
If you smoke a pack a day for 10 years, you could spend over $100,000 on cigarettes (to calculate your own spending, quit.org has a handy calculator). By quitting, you’ll have more money for things that actually make your life better: hobbies, passions, family and travel. With the cost of living on the rise, you have to ask: can you really afford this habit anymore?
Friends and family
It’s important to remember, your smoking doesn’t just affect you. It also affects your friends and family. Nobody smokes in isolation, and there’s a good bet people close to you will encourage your quitting journey.
Studies show, time and again, that quitting can drastically extend your lifespan. Within three months of quitting, you’ll find yourself breathing easier. Within 10 to 15 years, your risk of lung cancer (compared to smokers) will drop by 50%. If you want to be around for the people that love you, quitting is the best decision you can make.