From pre-movie trailers to cigarette packs, there is no lack of literature which doesn’t educate us about the adverse effects of smoking. If you are a smoker, we are certain that you may have thought of quitting smoking a thousand times but to no avail. You may have stopped for a few days and began again thinking you are way past the stage where you can quit smoking. 

You may think that the damage is already done, and there’s no way you can undo it. But here’s a fact. Doesn’t matter if you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, it is never too late to quit smoking.

As the world celebrates No Tobacco Day on 31st May, let’s try once again to be done with tobacco for good and lean towards a healthier future. 

Here are a few benefits of quitting smoking even when you think it’s late: 

  • Enhances quality of life and improves health.
  • Diminishes the risk of premature death and can increase life expectancy by up to 10 years. 
  • Improves the health of pregnant women and their foetuses. 
  • Reduces the financial burden of smoking. Improves your financial health as well. 
  • Reduces the risk for several health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, poor reproductive health outcomes, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Let’s discuss these benefits in detail

How does quitting smoking help in improving cardiovascular health? 

  • Diminishes the risk of disease and death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Reduces inflammation and hypercoagulability.
  • Increase in HDL-C (Good cholesterol) levels. 
  • Reduces the development of subclinical atherosclerosis and slows its progression over time.
  • Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. 
  • Reduces the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm, with risk reduction increasing with time since discontinuation. 
  • May diminish the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and venous thromboembolism.  

How does quitting smoking improve reproductive health? 

  • Diminishes the risk for a small-for-gestational-age baby.
  • Reduces the risk of premature delivery.
  • Reduces the chances of abnormal growth in the foetus. 

How does quitting smoking help improve respiratory health? 

  • Reduces the risk of developing COPD, also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 
  • Improves respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. 
  • Slashes the possibility of respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. 
  • Improves overall lung function. 

Quitting tobacco can decrease the possibility of the following 11 types of cancer: 

  • Lung cancer 
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Bladder cancer 
  • Cervix cancer 
  • Colon and rectum cancer 
  • Oesophagus cancer 
  • Kidney cancer 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Mouth and throat cancer 
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Stomach cancer

Cosmetic benefits of quitting smoking

  • Improved complexion. Your skin will look less pale and your skin health will improve.
  • Less discolouration.
  • Will improve pigmentation.
  • Restored collagen production which is impaired by smoking.
  • Signs of ageing such as wrinkles and fine lines will reduce.
  • Will help with chapped lips and their pigmentation.

As per studies, signs of hyperpigmentation and age spots may decrease after 30 days of stopping smoking. In addition, you may also witness skin colour changes 1-3 months after quitting.

Tips to quit smoking 

If you have smoked before, you may have experienced the harmful effects, including nausea, headaches, and sore throats, to name a few. It’s not that we are unaware of the risks of smoking but we continue to make unwise choices. 

There is no denying that quitting smoking can be very challenging especially when you have developed a habit of smoking. But the results and the long-term health benefits you will be getting are worth the struggle. 

Here are a few tips that can help you quit smoking: 

  • If you smoke out of peer pressure, explain to your circle why you want to quit. Ask them not to force you to smoke. 
  • Use nicotine replacement therapy. Consider using nicotine nasal spray or inhaler, nicotine patches and gums. They can help you overcome strong cravings by offering a healthier alternative to cigarettes. 
  • Avoid places where you can relapse. Parties, social gatherings, and cigarette shops are the places where you are most likely to relapse. Ensure that you stay clear of such locations. 
  • Procrastinate when you are having cigarette cravings. Give yourself 10-15 mins when you think you won’t be able to restrict yourself anymore. Till then, keep yourself occupied. You will observe the temptation getting weaker after the duration. 
  • Need a distraction at the cigarette shop? Instead of grabbing a cigarette, grab chewing gum instead. 
  • Even one puff, or one cigarette counts. You may tell yourself that it won’t harm you, but here’s a thing, one puff is enough to make you relapse. 
  • Do physical activity instead when you are battling cravings. Climb the stairs, go for a run, whatever keeps your mind off. 
  • Do not stretch your hand for a cigarette when you are stressed. There are plenty of other things you can do when you are stressed. Practise deep breathing, yoga, and visualisation to manage stress. 
  • Come back to this blog post when you are struggling with cravings. Read the benefits all over again to remind yourself of the benefits you will be signing up for when you quit smoking. 

Closing thoughts 

The decision to quit smoking holds the power to transform lives, regardless of age or how long one has been a smoker. The notion that it is never too late to quit smoking is both empowering and hopeful. Research has shown that quitting at any age can bring about significant health benefits and improve overall well-being. By taking the courageous step towards a smoke-free life, you can not only extend their lifespan but also enhance their quality of life, reducing the risk of numerous smoking-related diseases and enjoying a renewed sense of vitality. Quitting smoking may be a challenging journey, but it is a journey worth embarking on, offering the opportunity for a brighter, healthier future. Remember, it’s never too late to quit smoking and embrace a life free from its harmful grip.

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