Student Health Services
Holloway Hall

Smoking Facts & Reasons to Quit!

  • It is easier to quit smoking if there are clear reasons. It means different things to different people, so think of some to add that are important to you.
  • Better all around health.
  • Heart attack risk drops to the same as a non-smoker three years after quitting.
  • Cancer risk drops with every year of not smoking.
  • Live longer and stay well.
  • Set a good example for children.
  • Have lots of money to spend on other things.
  • Improved fitness and easier breathing.
  • Better chance of having a healthy baby.
  • Food and drink tastes and smells better
  • Better skin and complexion.
  • No early wrinkles.
  • Fresher smelling breath, hair, clothes, car, etc.
  • Back in full control of your habits.
  • No longer distracted when I can’t smoke.
  • Travel on planes, buses, cars, will be easier.
  • Don’t want to support tobacco companies.
  • Concern about the environmental impact of tobacco growing.
  • Your parents/significant other/friends/doctor will get off your back!

Almost immediately your body begins to repair some of the damage that nicotine has caused. The chart below illustrates the beneficial health changes:

Time Quit

Beneficial health changes that take place

20 minutes Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
8 hours Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.
24 hours Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body.
Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
48 hours There is no nicotine left in the body.
Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.
72 hours Breathing becomes easier.
Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
2 - 12 weeks Circulation improves.
3 - 9 months Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function is increased by up to 10%.
1 year Risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
10 years Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
15 years Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Check out some of the illnesses attributed to smoking.

Increased risk for smokers

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (gum disease) Muscle injuries
Angina (20 x risk) Neck pain
Back pain Nystagmus (abnormal eye movements)
Buerger’s Disease (severe circulatory disease) Ocular Histoplasmosis (fungal eye infection)
Duodenal ulcer Osteoporosis (in both sexes)
Cataract (2 x risk) Osteoarthritis
Cataract, posterior subcapsular (3 x risk) Penis (inability to have an erection)
Colon Polyps Peripheral vascular disease
Crohn’s Disease (chronic inflamed bowel) Pneumonia
Depression Psoriasis (2 x risk)
Diabetes (Type 2, non-insulin dependent) Skin wrinkling (2 x risk)
Hearing loss Stomach ulcer
Influenza Rheumatoid arthritis (for heavy smokers)
Impotence (2 x risk) Tendon injuries
Optic Neuropathy (loss of vision, 16 x risk) Tobacco Amblyopia (loss of vision)
Ligament injuries Tooth loss
Macular degeneration (eyes, 2 x risk) Tuberculosis

Function impaired in smokers

Ejaculation (volume reduced) Sperm count reduced
Fertility (30% lower in women) Sperm motility impaired
Immune System (impaired) Sperm less able to penetrate the ovum
Menopause (onset 1.74 years early on average) Sperm shape abnormalities increased

Symptoms worse in smokers

Asthma Graves’ disease (over-active thyroid gland)
Chronic rhinitis (chronic inflammation of the nose) Multiple Sclerosis
Diabetic retinopathy (eyes) Optic Neuritis (eyes)

Disease more severe or persistent in smokers

Common cold Pneumonia
Crohn’s Disease (chronic inflamed bowel) Tuberculosis
Influenza