6 Reasons to Quit Smoking

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Chris Illiades, MD on September 17, 2020
  • box of cigarettes
    The Leading Preventable Cause of Death
    You probably already know smoking is bad for your health. The biggest reason people quit is to feel better and live longer. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death for Americans. It causes one-third of all cancers and 90% of lung cancers. The average smoker lives about 10 years less than a nonsmoker. If those aren’t enough reasons for you to quit, here are six more.
  • Nurse and premature baby
    1. Cancer is not the only danger.
    Chemicals and gases in tobacco and tobacco smoke do more than cause cancer. They can harm many other body parts and functions. Possible damage from smoking includes heart disease, lung disease, stroke, blood vessel disease, respiratory infections, and cataracts. Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have a stillborn or premature baby. Smoking also has been linked to hearing loss, blindness, poor oral health, diabetes, and kidney disease
  • woman smoking
    2. Your smoking harms others.
    Family members, coworkers and friends can get sick from your smoke. Your smoking increases their risk of heart disease and lung cancer. If you have friends or children with asthma, your smoking can make their asthma worse. If you have kids at home, your smoking makes it more likely they'll get ear infections and lung infections. Children of smokers are more likely to become future smokers. 
  • Detail of woman's face
    3. Smoking makes you look older than your years.
    That’s because smoking greatly speeds up the aging of your skin: The skin on your face loses its elasticity and becomes dry and wrinkled. Your complexion can become dull and grayish. Tobacco stains your teeth and you also have a higher risk of losing your teeth. In addition to these and other physical changes, it’s downright impossible to eliminate the smell of smoke and tobacco from hair, skin, nails and clothes. 
  • What About Sex?
    4. Smoking is bad for your sex life.
    Women who smoke may have lower levels of estrogen. This can lead to early menopause and low sex drive. Low estrogen levels also reduce vaginal lubrication, which can make sex painful. Men who smoke can have a harder time getting and keeping an erection. Toxins in cigarette smoke can make it harder for a man to produce healthy sperm. Indeed, smoking can lead to infertility in both men and women. 
  • Spending money
    5. Smoking is expensive and time consuming.
    Say you pay $5 to $10 for a pack and you smoke a pack a day. That means you'll spend more than $2,000 a year on your smoking habit. Smoking also takes time. Most places are smoke-free nowadays, which means time looking for and getting to a place to smoke, several times a day. 
  • couple-looking-at-restaurant-menu
    6. Things get better when you quit.
    As bad as smoking is for your health, your body starts to repair some of the damage as soon as you quit. The sooner you quit the better. But, even later is better than never. Once you quit, you reap these benefits: Your risk of cancer and other diseases start to go down; you will start to breathe more easily; your blood pressure will go down; your sense of smell will improve; and food will taste better. Quitting smoking is not easy, and there are numerous strategies and products to help people quit. The big payoff is feeling better mentally and physically—and being an inspiration to your friends and family. 
6 Reasons to Quit Smoking

About The Author

  1. DrugFacts: Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. National Institutes of Health. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacco-products
  2. Health Effects. Smokefree.gov. https://smokefree.gov/quitting-smoking/reasons-quit/health-effects
  3. What causes our skin to age? American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/younger-skin
  4. Reasons to Quit. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/guide/reasons-to-quit.html
  5. Reasons to Quit Smoking. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/reasons-to-quit-smoking.html?referrer=https://www.go...

Was this helpful?
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 17
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.