10 Reasons to Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is extremely difficult because the nicotine in tobacco is extremely addictive. In “How To Quit Smoking,” a chapter in “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease,” Ornish wrote that 90 percent of cigarette smokers want to quit, the majority have tried, and about 70 percent of those who did quit began smoking again in three months. However, people who do quit experience tremendous short- and long-term benefits.

Saving Money

Reason No. 1 to quit smoking is that you will save money. In 2009, the U.S. government raised the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents to $1.01. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average state excise tax is $1.20. Thus, you save $800.65 (365 times $2.21) in taxes annually if you stop buying one pack of cigarettes daily. New York City residents could save at least $3,185 annually (365 times 9) because a pack of cigarettes there costs more than $9, including $5.26 in taxes.

Social Acceptance

Reason No. 2 to quit smoking is that your peers will admire you. Decades ago, many Americans perceived smoking as cool, but the dangers of smoking are so known in 2010 that smokers are often segregated at work or forced to go outside to smoke. If you successfully quit, your fortitude will be noticed. Reason No. 3 to quit smoking is that you will be a better role model for children. According to “The Well Adult,” parents’ disapproval and fear of cancer are the two “main deterrents” to children smoking.

Intimate Relationships

Reason No. 4 to quit smoking is that you could have more dating relationships. Nonsmokers are often turned off by smokers’ breath and smell. More significantly, your sexual ability will “often improve” if you quit smoking, wrote Dean Ornish. This is Reason No. 5 to quit smoking. According to a study reported by Ornish, a large percentage of men who were unable to have erections began having them within six weeks of quitting smoking.

You’ll Feel Better

Reason No. 6 to quit smoking is that your cough could go away. You could also have fewer colds and infections, reports Ornish. Reason No. 7 is that you will feel better psychologically, particularly if you share your experiences with another smoker who is trying to quit. Reason No. 8 is that people around you could feel better. “Children who live in homes where adults smoke have more respiratory problems than children who are raised in smoke-free environments,” reports “Essentials for Health and Wellness.”

You’ll Live Longer

The most urgent reasons to quit smoking are often the least persuasive, particularly with young people. But, there are numerous long-term benefits of quitting. Reason No. 9 is that ex-smokers “are no more likely to get lung cancer than nonsmokers” 15 years after they quit, according to Ornish. Reason No. 10 is that male ex-smokers are half as likely to die of a heart attack within one year of quitting.

About this Author

Martin Zabell has had several thousand articles printed by the “Chicago Tribune,” “USA Today,” and many other publications since 1983. He’s covered business, real estate, government, features, sports and more. A Lafayette, Pa., college graduate, he’s also written for several Fortune 500 corporate publications and produced business newsletters.