6 ways quitting smoking improves your health

Cancer Council NSW
hands breaking cigarette

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Smoking causes 16 different types of cancer and increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

In the lead up to World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, learn how quitting smoking can improve your overall health and wellness.

1. Your metabolism returns to normal

Smoking reduces your body’s ability to absorb important vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamins C and D. These are essential to maintaining healthy blood vessels, muscles and the body’s healing processes.

Smoking can also impair your sense of smell and taste through irritation and inflammation of the nasal passage. By quitting smoking, you can taste and enjoy a wide variety of foods again.

Some people gain weight when they quit smoking. You can reduce this by:

  • choosing foods like vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and wholegrains
  • being aware of triggers or times when your cravings are highest, and keeping healthy snacks with you
  • using Nicotine Replacement Therapy patches or oral forms like lozenges or mouth spray.

Don’t let fear of temporary weight gain stop you from quitting.

2. Your ability to exercise improves

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream and the body’s organs. Smoking also reduces people’s lung fitness, making it harder to exercise and increasing the chances of injury.

Exercise can also be a powerful tool to help you quit smoking as it aids in stress management, provides a distraction, reduces your cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and helps to limits weight gain.

3. You’ll be in a better mood and feel less stressed

Quitting smoking improves your mental health. Six months after quitting, you’ll feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Your mood and quality of life will also improve.

4. You’ll protect your loved ones from second-hand smoke

Quitting smoking protects your loved ones and pets from breathing second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, with 69 known to cause cancer.

There’s no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. It causes immediate and long-term adverse health problems to people around you, especially children, and your pets.

Check out out tips for creating smoke free environments.

5. Your financial wellbeing improves

Quitting smoking isn’t only good for your health, but also for your wallet.

The cost of tobacco can be a strong motivator for people to quit. For example, for the price of a pack of 25 cigarettes, you can feed a family of six a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

You can keep track of the money you save from quitting with the My Quit Buddy app.

Remember this World No Tobacco Day: it is never too late to quit smoking and start enjoying some of these wellness benefits.

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