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Kicking the habit: Discover the health benefits of quitting smoking

Team AckoFeb 16, 2024

Smoking is a harmful and addictive habit that can cause many health problems. From lung cancer to heart disease, the harmful effects of smoking can be life-threatening. However, quitting smoking can immediately and positively impact your health. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of kicking the habit and provide some tips on quitting smoking for good.




Why you should quit smoking?

Smoking is one of the most dangerous habits one can develop in their lifetime. There is not one good thing that can come out of choosing to smoke tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and even e-cigarettes. Tobacco consists of acetone, nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, all of which are known to cause substantial damage to the body. 

Besides cancer, smoking can do lasting damage to your lungs, heart, eyes, skin, and mouth. It increases the risk of diabetes, fertility issues, mental health issues, and osteoporosis. But the good news is that once you make up your mind to quit smoking, your body can start the healing process almost immediately.

What are the health-related reasons to quit smoking?

So here are the benefits of quitting smoking that can help you kick-start your de-addiction journey and leave this deadly habit behind.

1. Respiratory health improves

One of the major benefits of quitting smoking is improved lung health. When you quit smoking, your chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduce. COPD is a disease that leads to blocked airways, making breathing difficult.

Even if you already have asthma, if you stop smoking, the symptoms related to the condition will decline, and you will respond better to treatments in addition to improving your lung function. Other respiratory difficulties you may have faced, including coughing, wheezing, or breathing issues, will start easing.

2. Heart health improves

Your heart is another organ that will be immensely grateful when you kick this unhealthy habit. Blood circulation to the heart improves after you quit smoking. Your risk of death from heart disease drops. Levels of good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), increase. Over time, your chances of experiencing a stroke and dying from it also drop to those of a non-smoker.

Your risk of developing heart disease decreases drastically 1–2 years after you quit smoking. Those who are suffering from heart disease can also benefit by giving up smoking. They avoid the risk of heart attack, premature death, and death because of heart conditions.

3. Risk of cancer decreases

The chemicals that are released through the burning of tobacco can cause the following types of cancer.

  • Bladder cancer

  • Lung cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Cervical cancer

  • Colon and rectum cancer

  • Kidney cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Mouth cancer

  • Throat cancer 

  • Pancreatic cancer

  • Stomach cancer

  • Laryngeal cancer

  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

Once a person quits smoking, the chances of developing these cancers decrease over time. Those who have been diagnosed with the disease also benefit from quitting smoking.

4. Reproductive health improves

Smoking when you intend to get pregnant or during the pregnancy can affect your future child’s health in many ways. Women trying to get pregnant must quit smoking as soon as possible to secure their health and future children. Chances of pregnancy-related complications, such as preterm birth and underweight babies, can be negated if the mother stops smoking either before or during the early stages of pregnancy.

5. Mental health improves

Most often, you might find yourself reaching out for a packet of cigarettes to feel a sense of relief from the stress you encounter at work or in life in general. But did you know that once you throw away your cigarettes for good, you might start feeling much better? Once you pass the tobacco withdrawal stage of your de-addiction journey, you will feel a lot better as stress, depression, and anxiety levels start coming down. Quitting smoking in itself is a huge achievement, which can boost your confidence and uplift your mood.

6. Other health benefits of giving up smoking

Here are some of the other benefits of quitting smoking

  • Your food will start tasting better as your sense of taste returns.

  • You will also be able to enjoy the flowers and perfumes more as your sense of smell returns.

  • You will be able to do more physical activities without feeling tired.

  • You will not be a source of second-hand smoke, which also causes many health complications.

  • The process of nail and tooth yellowing comes to a stop once you ditch the tobacco.

  • You save money when you quit smoking, which can be funnelled towards other, more important needs.

A general timeline of when to expect improvements in health

Here is a  timeline of health benefits that are in store for you after you quit smoking.



20 minutes

Your heart rate drops

24 hours

Nicotine completely disappears from your blood. Oxygen levels begin to increase as carbon monoxide levels begin to match those of a non-smoker. Blood pressure levels also drop, which begins to lower the risk of heart disease.

1 to 9 months

Lung health improves significantly and the chances of lung infections decrease. Episodes of coughing and shortness of breath occur less frequently.

1 to 5 years

The risk of coronary heart disease drops drastically.

5 to 10 years

Your risk of stroke decreases. The chances of developing mouth, throat, and laryngeal cancer are cut by 50% when compared to a smoker.

After 10 years

The risk of developing lung cancer drops close to 50% when compared to a smoker.

After 15 years

Your risk of developing coronary heart disease is on the same level as that of a non-smoker.

After 20 years

Your chances of developing mouth, pancreatic, throat, and laryngeal cancer are on the same level as those of a non-smoker.

7 effective tips to quit smoking

You must remember that quitting smoking is a big commitment, and you must go easy on yourself during the initial stages of your de-addiction journey. The urge to grab a cigarette can rear its ugly head, but the longer you stick to your goal, the easier things become. Here are some tips on how you can quit smoking effectively.

  1. Consult your doctor and draw up a plan that might include Nicotine Replacement Therapy, prescription medication, and counselling to help you deal with leaving smoking behind.

  2. Look up local support groups that will give you a hand with your de-addiction program. Some platforms are also available online, which can be of immense help.

  3. Certain triggers will push people towards smoking. Know these triggers and find ways to avoid them without falling back on smoking.

  4. It pays to keep your mouth busy when the cigarette craving hits you. You can choose sugarless candies, gum, or any healthy snacks and munchies to keep your mouth occupied while you ride out your craving.

  5. Ask your friends and family for their support in helping you fight your addiction. They can keep you in check and offer useful distractions.

  6. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation or anything that can help you relax, such as a massage, a long bath, or even a calming piece of music.

  7. Exercise is a great way to take your mind off smoking. Head to the gym or take a brisk walk around a park in your neighbourhood

If you are about to start your journey, we wish you all the very best and hope that you enjoy the freedom that leaving behind tobacco brings to you and your loved ones!

Here are some common questions about smoking and quitting the habit.


Can smoking be deadly?

Yes, smoking is a deadly habit. It can lead to cancer, stroke, and heart disease, all of which can take your life.

If I quit smoking today, when will my health start improving?

Quitting smoking is just about the best flavour you can do for your health. And the benefits of quitting smoking start showing up almost instantly, too. Your pulse rate drops within 20 minutes of quitting tobacco. It's all good news from there, as, over time, your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and breathing issues starts to diminish substantially. 

What are some of the withdrawal issues that I can face once I quit smoking?

You may face issues such as nausea, fatigue, indigestion, cough, sore throat, runny nose, constipation, headaches, irritability, and trouble falling asleep. But as you continue your de-addiction journey, your withdrawal symptoms will improve. Talk to your doctor and determine the best ways to deal with these issues. Do be gentle with yourself during this time and have some useful distractions at the ready.

Can those who smoke get Health Insurance?

Yes, those who smoke are eligible for Health Insurance. But they will have to pay a higher premium when compared to someone who doesn't smoke. This is because smokers come with their own health risks, such as heart disease, cancer, and lung issues, and are more likely to file claims. Hence their Insurance Premium may be on the higher side. 

Should I let it be known that I smoke when applying for health Insurance?

It is best that you declare that you smoke from the get-go. If you fail to mention this detail, the insurance company has the right to reject your claim in the future.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes.


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