Quitting will Improve your Health graphic cigarette warning front of packQuitting will improve your health graphic cigarette warning back of pack
Front of Cigarette Pack
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Back of Cigarette Pack
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Smoking is known to cause harm to nearly every organ and system of your body. It even affects organs that have no direct contact with the smoke itself. 1,2 There is no safe level of tobacco use. 3

About half of regular smokers will die of a smoking related disease and will die earlier than non-smokers. 1,4

Quitting smoking at any age has short and long term health benefits. Quitting will reduce the risks for diseases caused by smoking and will help to improve your health in general. 1,4

Once you quit smoking, your body starts to recover in the following ways:

    • 12 hours - almost all nicotine has been metabolised.
    • 24 hours - blood levels of carbon monoxide have dropped dramatically. This means that there is more haemoglobin in red blood cells available to carry oxygen to the body's cells.
    • Five days - most nicotine by-products have been removed. Your sense of taste and smell improve.
    • Six weeks - risk of wound infection after surgery is substantially reduced.
    • Three months - cilia begin to recover, meaning your lungs regain the ability to clean themselves, and overall lung function improves.
    • One year - risk of coronary heart disease is halved compared to continuing smokers.
    • 10 years - risk of lung cancer is less than half that of a continuing smoker and continues to decline.
    • 15 years - risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.1,2,4,5
Other benefits of quitting smoking include:
    • For women who quit smoking before pregnancy, or in the early months of pregnancy, their risk of having a low birthweight baby drops to the same level of risk as women who have never smoked.
    • Stopping smoking slows the rate of loss of lung capacity in chronic airways disease.
    • Improved appearance of skin and fitness.
    • Saves money - based on one $10 pack of cigarettes per day, in one year the cost is $3650 and over five years $ 18,250. 4,5
If you quit smoking you will also have a reduced risk of diseases such as emphysema, stroke, cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, cervix, kidney and pancreas, and illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia. 1,6 Over time, you are also likely to experience less coughs and colds, a decrease in shortness of breath and less chance of infertility and impotence.7 This list is not intended to cover all the health benefits that can occur if you quit smoking.

The people you live with, especially your children, will also be healthier if you quit smoking. In addition, reducing children's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can lead to reduced school absence, improved school performance and reduced uptake of smoking by children. 8,9

Decided to quit? For help, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, call the Quitline on 131 848 or visit the Quitline web site.

Sources

    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: what it means to you . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr_2004/consumerpiece/index.htm (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    2. American Council on Science and Health. Cigarettes: What the warning label doesn't tell you. Second edition. New York, American Council on Science and Health, 2003.
    3. Health Foundation. Cigarette Smoking information sheet, 2002. (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    4. Smoking Cessation Guidelines for Australian General Practice . 2004 Edition. www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-publicat-document-smoking_cessation-cnt.htm/$FILE/smoking_cessation.pdf (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    5. Fact sheet: Women and Smoking. Department of Health and Ageing. www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-drugs-tobacco-women-and-smoking.htm (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    6. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General . Atlanta, Georgia. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr_2004/index.htm (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    7. Tengs, T. and Osgood, N. The link between smoking and impotence: Two decades of evidence. Preventive Medicine 2001; 32(6): 337-452.
    8. NDS (National Drug Strategy) 2002. Environmental tobacco smoke in Australia. National Tobacco Strategy 1999 to 2002-03. Occasional paper. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing. www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/Publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-publicat-document-env_ets-cnt.htm/$FILE/env_ets.pdf (This link was valid at the time of submission.)
    9. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2004. Australia's health 2004. Canberra: AIHW. www.aihw.gov.au/publications/aus/ah04/ah04-050222.pdf