Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the cause for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States. Seventy percent of current smokers report they want or are trying to quit. In 2007, 47 million Americans successfully quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains at least 250 toxic or cancer causing chemicals that cause damage to every organ in the body. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk and possibly reverse the development many different diseases.

Cardiovascular

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronary heart disease is caused by smoking. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and smokers are two to four times more likely to be diagnosed. Quitting smoking can cause increased circulation by reversing the narrowing of the blood vessels. The risk is also decreased for developing peripheral vascular disease, which is damage to the arteries of the arms and legs and can cause tissue loss or gangrene resulting in amputation. Within 1 to 2 years of quitting smoking, the risk for developing coronary heart disease is reduced significantly.

Respiratory

Smoking causes the small air sacs in the lungs to become damaged and can cause serious effects. Emphysema, bronchitis and chronic airway obstruction are all caused by the damaging of the airways associated with smoking. Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive lung disease according to the CDC. Smoking cessation reduces not only the respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, it can also reduce the risk of developing respiratory complications and diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Cancer

Smoking causes lung cancer. Men and women are 12 and 13 times, respectively, more likely to develop lung cancer according to the CDC. Other cancers that are caused by smoking include leukemia, kidney, pancreas, bladder, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), cervix, stomach, esophagus, mouth and uterus. Quitting smoking lowers the risk for developing cancer.

Other Benefits

Smoking has other negative health affects that can cause infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low birth weight in pregnant women reported by the CDC. Compared to women who have never smoked, postmenopausal women have a lower bone density and increased risk for hip fracture. Quitting smoking during the reproductive years is associated with a decreased risk for infertility and having a low birth weight baby.

About this Author

Jennifer Marie is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a Bachelor of Science in health and sports studies and a Master of Science in nutrition. She is currently completing her internship to become a registered dietitian.