• Reasons to Quit - Tobacco Treatment

    There are many reasons to quit tobacco. Better health is one of the most important. If you quit, you will:

    • Live longer
    • Have fewer health problems
    • Recover quicker when you are sick
    • Lower the chance of being hospitalized
    • Have fewer complications if you are hospitalized

    Quitting tobacco use will lower your risk of these diseases:

    Cancer. There are over 50 chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause cancer. If you quit, you will reduce your risk of lung, throat, bladder and many other cancers. If you have lung cancer, quitting will lower your chances of developing another cancer.

    Lung Diseases. By giving up smoking, you will decrease your risk of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma combined. It can cause serious health problems and even death.

    Heart Attacks, Stroke and Diseases of Blood Vessels. Quitting tobacco will cut your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes (or brain attacks) and erectile dysfunction (impotence). These conditions can happen when your blood vessels tighten, which can result from tobacco use. If you have had a heart attack, quitting will lower your chances of having another one. If you have congestive heart failure, quitting will lower your chances of being hospitalized.

    Diabetes. If you stop using tobacco, you will reduce your risk of diabetes and problems related to diabetes, like nerve problems, kidney disease and blindness. If you have diabetes, quitting tobacco use will help you manage it. Quitting may even help you get rid of your diabetes for good.

    Here are the health benefits you will gain in the minutes, hours, months and years after you stop using tobacco:

    • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
    • 12 hours after quitting: The amount of carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) in your blood drops to normal.
    • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves, and your lungs work better.
    • 1 to 9 months after quitting: Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Your lungs are clearer.
    • 1 year after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who smokes.
    • 5 to 15 years after quitting: Your risk of stroke is the same as someone's who does not smoke.
    • 10 years after quitting: Your risk of death from lung cancer is about half that of someone who smokes. Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decreases.
    • 15 years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as someone's who does not smoke.
    • 20 years after quitting: Your risk of lung cancer is the same as someone's who never smoked.  

    Along with improving your health, quitting tobacco use will:

    • Protect your children from health problems caused by secondhand smoke
    • Improve your chances of having a healthy baby (if you are pregnant)
    • Let you have extra money to spend on things other than cigarettes
    • Prevent your chances of early wrinkles, bad breath, bad smelling clothes and hair, and yellow fingernails 

    Content adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting.

  • Call the QUIT line

    781.744.QUIT (7848) 
  • Register For Programs or Request Information

    Request more information or register for FREE sessions of the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking®. Pre-registration is required.

  • Meet Peggy, a tobacco treatment specialist

    Peggy Russo, tobacco treatment specialist (TTS), leads Lahey’s Freedom from Smoking Programs for patients, colleagues, and the community, as well as manages the many administrative tasks associated with running the tobacco treatment program.  Read more>>