Smoking is a habit that can be hard to quit. For many, having reasons to stay smoke-free can help keep them focused and make saying ‘no’ a little easier. But sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the many benefits of quitting.
If you need a reminder or some extra motivation, here are five reasons why your next cigarette should be your last.
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Smoking is bad for your health
This is one fact you’re probably aware of. Still, it can help to be reminded of the negative health affects tied to smoking. Despite decades of government warnings and public health campaigns urging men and women to quit smoking, around 5,000 people a year still die of smoking-related illnesses in New Zealand—or about 13 people a day.
An individual who quits could start to experience some immediate benefits. Blood pressure may start to drop and the heart rate return to normal within minutes. You might find it easier to breathe and exercise, which could help your overall health and wellbeing.
Older smokers often take the view that it’s pointless to quit as they’ve smoked all their lives, but it’s really never too late to stop. Research has shown that one year after quitting, a smoker’s risk of developing heart disease may decrease by half (and the risk may keep going down the longer someone stays smoke-free). After five years, they may be less likely to have a smoking-related stroke.
Smoking is bad for other people’s health
Smoking is not only bad for your health, but also for those around you. Second-hand smoke claims the lives of around 1.2. million people around the world every year. Exposure to second-hand smoker primarily happens in the home, though it could also happen while driving in the car, at work or out in public.
Second hand smoke is particularly harmful to children. It can increase their risk of serious breathing infections (like bronchitis and pneumonia) and developing asthma. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are also likely to catch more colds and developing middle ear infections. A child is also more likely to become a smoker if they have at least one parent who smokes.
Don’t have children or a partner to worry about? Second-hand smoke can be bad for pets too!
Quitting could make you fitter
Stopping smoking could help you get healthier in many ways. Regular smokers often find themselves out of breath and find it hard to undertake any physical activity. However, lung capacity can bounce back soon after quitting and continue to increase the longer you stay smoke-free. This could make it easier to start some gentle exercise or tackle something more strenuous over time, like going to the gym.
This could lead to many long-term health benefits. Many serious health issues and cancers are tied to conditions like obesity. Being able to maintain a healthy weight could help you avoid developing these later in life.
Quitting could make life more enjoyable
Smoking can affect the body in many ways, including interfering with the senses. Those who quit often report that their sense of taste and smell improves. This makes many of life’s simple pleasures more enjoyable –indeed, many report that food taste better than before and that they’re able to pick up on smells that they previously were missing.
Whilst this may sound like a far-fetched claim, quitting smoking could improve your love life, too. Non-smokers often refuse to date smokers, citing things like the smell cigarettes that can cling to clothes, skin and hair, and the taste when kissing them. Furthermore, smoking could lead to problems like erectile dysfunction in men, which could greatly impact romantic relationships.
Quitting could also help your social life outside of dating. Smoking is no longer considered cool, and widespread bans often force smokers into areas away from the general public when they want a cigarette. This often means missing out on fun times, inside jokes or meaningful conversations with friends and families.
Smoking is expensive
Smoking has become a very expensive addiction. Cigarettes may be expensive on their own and highly taxed, adding to the cost of a pack or carton. In New Zealand, smoking a pack a day could add up to around $10,800 spent every year. That is money that could be so much better spent – like paying for a nice holiday, a new car, or helping to meet mortgage and bill payments.
There are also other ways that quitting could help you save money. Life and funeral insurance premiums are often partially based on whether you smoke, with tobacco users typically paying more than non-smokers. Smoking could also increase health insurance premiums, as well as costs related to the health problems it could cause, like extra prescriptions, trips to the doctor or the need to see a specialist.
Why not quit today?
These are just a few great reasons to quit smoking. You might have even more motivation in your life to help you start and maintain a smoke-free lifestyle. Whatever your reasons, quitting smoking could help bring about many positive changes for you and the ones you love.