No Butts About It: 50 Reasons to Quit Smoking

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Smoking is an expensive habit. Beyond the $5 to $13 for a pack of cigarettes (depending on where you live) it also costs the lives of 480,000 Americans, $300 billion in medical expenses and $156 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the CDC. With such a staggering expense at stake, it's hard to believe that more than 16 percent of U.S. adults were still smoking as of 2014.
If you're one of the 40 million people who are still lighting up, you probably already know it's bad for your health. Maybe you've thought about quitting, but aren't sure you have the willpower to give up such an addictive substance. The first step is to identify your reasons for kicking the habit, from staying alive to enjoy your grandchildren to getting rid of the unpleasant smell. Need some quitting inspiration? Read on for 50 good reasons to stop smoking, no butts about it.
For Your Health
  1. Cigarette smoke can cause heartburn (or make symptoms worse, if you already have it).
  2. If you're a woman taking birth control pills, you have a significantly higher risk of stroke or heart attack than women who don't smoke.
  3. The main components of tobacco smoke are carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas), tar (a proven carcinogen) and nicotine (a highly addictive insecticide). Still have the urge to light up?
  4. Of all the deaths caused by 12 different cancers, smoking is the culprit behind half of them.
  5. Your mental health depends on it. Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from a form of psychosis.
  6. On average, non-smokers live 10 years longer than smokers, per the CDC.
  7. Is there a surgery in your future? Post-op wounds heal slower for smokers than for non-smokers.
  8. Middle-aged women who smoke are almost five times more likely to die from heart disease than non-smokers.
  9. Your heart disease risk will be half of what it was as a smoker one year after quitting.
  10. Studies show that when a smoker breaks a bone, it takes about six weeks longer to heal than the bone of a non-smoker.
  11. If you combine the number of people who die from drug use, HIV, car crashes, alcohol abuse, murders and suicides, it will still be lower than the number of deaths caused by tobacco.
  12. Go with your gut. Lighting up is bad for your intestinal health.
  13. All that puffing does a number on the mouth. As a smoker, you'll be at a much higher risk of gum disease, canker sores, cavities and tooth loss—not to mention oral cancers.
  14. Smoking lowers your "good" cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.
  15. Studies show that people with Alzheimer's who smoke will lose their mental faculties up to five times faster than non-smokers.
  16. Smoking changes the consistency of your blood, making it thicker and harder to circulate. This can ultimately cause clogged arteries, blood clots and heart attacks.
  17. Already susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis? Smoking could be the tipping point.
  18. Just two hours after your last cigarette, your blood pressure, heart rate and circulation will all be close to healthy levels.
  19. Smokers are more than four times more likely to lose their eyesight due to macular degeneration.
  20. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your heart health.
  21. Within nine months of quitting, your lungs will be functioning at a higher level, and you'll notice less coughing and wheezing.
  22. People who quit smoking are less likely to get colds, flu, pneumonia and bronchitis.
  23. When you smoke, less oxygen is supplied to the inner ear, which can cause hearing loss. 
For Your Family’s Health
  1. Your non-smoking family members have up to a 30 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease due to exposure to secondhand smoke.
  2. Every year, around 2,000 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome after being exposed to secondhand smoke.
  3. Each year, between 150,000 to 300,000 toddlers and babies under 18 months old get pneumonia or bronchitis as a result of secondhand smoke, per EPA statistics.
  4. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight and other medical complications.
  5. Monkey see, monkey do: If you have kids, they're more likely to pick up the habit if they grow up watching you do it.
  6. Residue from thirdhand smoke can be touched and inhaled by children (and adults) long after the cigarette has been extinguished.
  7. If you have babies in your life, they'll be happier and healthier. Tobacco smoke has been shown to increase the risk of colic.
  8. You'll be able to kiss your partner without passing on the taste and chemicals of nicotine.
  9. Want to stop snoring? Ditch the cigarettes: Your partner will thank you for the good night’s sleep. 
For Your Confidence
  1. Say cheese! You'll be able to smile for pictures without worrying about unsightly yellow nicotine stains on your teeth.
  2. Smoking accelerates the aging process, causing non-reversible wrinkles and sagging of the skin.
  3. Say goodbye to tar stains on your hands from holding cigarettes.
  4. Worried about gaining weight? Don't be. Quitting doesn't necessarily mean that you'll put on extra pounds.
  5. You can replace cigarettes with the healthier habit of exercise, which will nicely complement your new smoke-free lifestyle. 
For Your Finances
  1. Depending on where you live, a lifetime of smoking will cost you anywhere between one million and two million dollars.
  2. "Thirdhand smoke"—the smoke residue that accumulates on walls, carpets, clothing, curtains, cabinets and counters—can decrease the value of your home. 
For Your Enjoyment of Life
  1. Eating will be more enjoyable. Cigarette smoke can dull the taste buds and hamper your ability to taste foods, studies show.
  2. You'll finally be free of the constant worry about where and when you'll be able to smoke your next cigarette.
  3. There will be no more stepping away from dinners and social events to smoke, and no more sacrificing conversation for cigarettes.
  4. You'll no longer have to obsessively pop breath mints before talking to someone.
  5. Even the occasional cigarette can decrease libido, particularly for men.
  6. Within three weeks after your last cigarette, you'll notice that it's easier to breathe when working out or exerting yourself physically.   
  7. Just 48 hours after quitting, all nicotine will be out of your body, and you'll notice an improved ability to smell and taste foods.
  8. You'll be able to stop and actually smell the roses—smoking hampers your sniffer's ability to detect scents. 
For the Environment
  1. You'll help to preserve forests and the ecosystems within them. Each year, between 20 to 50 million trees are cut down to make room for tobacco farms.
  2. Fewer smokers mean prettier beaches. Discarded non-biodegradable cigarette butts—which are carried from streets into sewers, and ultimately into rivers and oceans—are the single most collected item in international beach cleanups each year, per the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  3. Tobacco plants require a large amount of pesticides—up to 16 applications—which harms birds, wildlife, soil and even the ozone layer.
The road to a smoke-free life isn’t always an easy one, but with personal motivation and a strong support system, you can break the cycle of dependency and live a healthier, longer life.

What are your reasons for quitting? What advice would you give to someone who's ready to say so long to cigarettes?

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TCLADY 1/28/2019
Don't need a reason, never started. Nasty habit. Report
TWEETYKC00 9/3/2018
So many good reasons to quit, thankful I did when I did. Report
GINA180847 8/24/2018
Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I ever did but also the most gratifying thing as well. It was huge! I was alone after a divorce and had a mini crush on my Dr.. I would in nervousness always have a smoke before seeing him. He asked me how much I smoked. I was so ashamed and I asked him how he knew. He said I smelled of it. This made me determined to quit and that was 33 yrs. ago. It got that monkey off my back and there were far more guys interested in me without the stench. Eventually I remarried a sweet man and he would not even have talked to me if I smoked. Report
JEWELZEE- 7/15/2018
Giving up smoking was one of the best decisions I ever made. So happy I did. Report
GETULLY 7/13/2018
I was at a conference for five days. The best restaurants were on the casino floor. Every time I walked to one and back to my room I had to change clothes. I felt I smelled like an ashtray! Report
LRCOTE 7/13/2018
I never smoked and always hated being around smokers. I’m glad it’s the norm now! Report
CHERYLHURT 7/13/2018
Glad I never started. Report
MSROZZIE 6/12/2018
Excellent article, good need-to-know information! Report
97MONTY 6/10/2018
I did it 41 years ago Report
MELTEA43 4/15/2018
July 10, 2016 was my last cigarette after suffering my second stroke! I really like how my animals no longer shy away from me petting them because my fingers and hands no longer smell like trash! Report
KHALIA2 3/31/2018
I used to be a smoker, but after reading this list of reasons, I have no regrets for quitting. Report
ATEAMSIS08 3/22/2018
Excellent article. I am putting on my patch today! Report
LOVECAROL 2/20/2018
Quitting is a hard task but worth it. Report
So glad i do not engage, but what an excellent health article. Thanks. Report
Quit smoking a year ago! Best thing I ever did! Don't forget the second hand smoke damage to your furry best friends forever either! My puppy thanks me! ;) Report
People who are able to quit for a month or more usually start again because of some crisis. (death of loved one, job loss, sickness) Bad things happen but don't compound the issue by going back to a habit that is bad for you. Smoking is not a crutch. Find some healthy coping skills NOW so when the crisis hits you are prepared with a better option. The most common thing I hear from my COPD/lung Issue patients is I wish I had quit sooner. When you are younger you don't feel the immediate consequences of your poor choices. Live your life "right" now and you won't have the disaster of horrible regrets later. You only get one body to last your whole life. Make it a good one. Report
Quit smoking. Not only will you do yourself good, you will also protect the people around you from the hazards of passive smoking. Smoking very harmful to our health. So, try to avoid it. To know more -
Here few tips to avoid smoking - Report
When I was a teenager I would get pressured to try to smoke and all I could think of was all these reasons why people try quit, so why would I want to start? I am 40something and have never smoked anything in my life. Report
I use to be a smoker. But I quit back in the early 70's. I worked on the 4th floor of my school and it was a very high floor. By the time I reached my room, I would be out of breath. That was my incentive to quit. Report
Switched to vaping 6 months ago - feel much better for it. Report
I thank God that my husband and I are no longer smokers. Report
It's easy to stop smoking - I did it over 20 times. After 42 years with a pack-a-day habit, I finally quit for good 14 years ago using a combination hypnotism and acupuncture. Now skin is looking brighter, I can breathe - deeply, have more energy and endurance, and chest x-rays are finally coming back clear. You CAN reverse a lot of damage. Report
glad I quit years ago Report
I am so glad that the one time I did try a cigarette I hated it and immediately threw away that cigarette, so I never picked up that habit. Report
best thing one could do for their health Report

so glad I quit smoking cold turkey over 25 years ago Report
Quite smoking over two months ago tried patches but they didn't seem to work,I tried every kind they had then I asked my doctor and he gave me Chantix but I kept smoking for about a week then slowly slowing I started cutting down. Then after a few weeks I didn't smoke for the 1st time in 30 years,the 2nd day I kept thinking about it I even bought a pack of cigarettes I started to light it . Then I just thought about my heavy breathing,I took the pack and crushed the pack in 100 pieces.since that day I completely Stopped. I was one of the hardest things I ever did I still wake up at night thinking about having a smoke . The longer you don't smoke it starts getting easier every day no more spitting black stuff out of my mouth. It's probably the hardest habit to kick but it's definitely worth it believe me . I can breathe better now and save $ 13.00 a pack a day. So try as hard as you can ! Report
I quit cold turkey several years ago. Best thing I could ever do for myself. I didn't actually save money, I just spent it on other things. None of which will kill me! Report
wish some of my loved ones could follow this but I can only hope & pray for them Report
I quit cold turkey 28 years ago after 33 years of smoking. Best decision I ever made. I was over a pack a day and into early stage COPD. Just my opinion, no disrespect intended, but I see vaping as just using a different type of crutch to lean on. Report
Or... you could just vape.. which is healthier (not without side effects.. but still healthier than smoking.. it's so much cheaper.. I think I pay 60 bucks every 2 years for a new e-liquid kit.. everyone is going to get their high from somewhere.. might as well be on your own terms.. Report
I quit smoking years ago. I wish I never started Report
Both my parents smoked when I was young. I remember getting terribly sick with respiratory infections as a result. Report
So glad I never started and over the top that Dearly Beloved stopped more than 15 years ago (we could not afford it now)! Report
I have been smoke-free for 3 months. I do see the benefits. But I think anytime I saw one of those commercials for quit smoking it was almost like I was program to light up. No one is going to quit smoking because you handed them a list. If anything you're going to make it longer because the smokers who I know are some of the most strong-willed stubborn people you will ever meet.
All you can really do is when they're ready to change be a cheerleader. I have about 5 people on my list and anytime my app said that I did a good job I would take a screenshot and send it to them and they would be supportive and would be cheerleaders. It was all the people who i knew wanted me to quit smoking. But they were the people I turn to when I was ready because they never pushed me to stop smoking they knew I needed to do it on my own. If you really want your friends and family members to stop smoking just leave them alone and let them do it on their own otherwise they're just going to hide it and do it anyway and then you've added issues to your relationship like lying Report
Ok. I am now a non-smoker of 6 months. One day I was bored and I did some number crunching. I smoked for 37 yrars. I smoked over 400,400 cigarettes. I spent over $141,500.00. The sad part is I DID THIS TO MYSELF!!!! I now walk with oxygen. Because when I walk I lose oxygen. I am now alone. I am on disability. I am unable to hold a position because i need oxygen when walking. But if I use a walker, I can walk without oxygen. I am so angry with myself for this damage I have done to myself. Report
A pack of cigarettes where I live cost $2.50. A meal at a fast food place cost $7.00. Smoking is expensive, but not as much as drinking or eating junk. Lost productivity? Really, I worked with smokers and they took fewer to no sick days from work. They were more productive then some of the non-smokers. The leading cause of death is heart failure. The majority of the medical cost attributed to smoking is actually from cancer treatments: cancer can happen to anyone, smokers or non-smokers. Rather than start an article with a bogus scare tactic, perhaps start it with something that smokers will find more difficult to argue with.

Nicotine increases the heart rate which increases risk of tissue damage in the heart. Smoking causes damage to the air sacs in the lungs which reduces the oxygen in the blood. Less oxygen in the blood means less energy. Smoking also can make the nose stuffy which causes restless sleep. If a smoker wants to breath better, sleep better, find more energy, they should consider not smoking. It is difficult to quit; but it is worth the trouble. Report
My 40+ year smoking habit caused stage 2 colon cancer. I was forced to retire. I got to wear a bag of poo that occasionally leaked. A hernia above the opening caused the opening to expand from 1 7/8" to 2 1/2" and my intestine filled the bag. To change the bag, I had to push the intestine back inside. I got to have chemo and lose most of my hair. I would go to c ancer center for 4 hours then they hooked me up to a pump that I had to carry around for 36 hours, then go back and return the pump. I live in another town than the cancer center. 50 miles one way rain or shine. My brother came and got me and let me and let me stay at his house. I was very fortunate to get my colon reco nected and the hernias repaired. I am now 1 1/2 years cancer free. The hole in my belly is now healed. I am still restricted from lifting too much so that the hernia does not return. I was lucky, some are not.
50 great reasons! Awesome Article! Report
I LOVE the idea of exchanging smoking for exercise! Report
Great list. I really need to quit! Report
I am happy I do not smoke. Hope others who do will quit this habit for its many healthy benefits. Report
I'm so glad I never started smoking. My Mother died at age 55 from heart disease brought on by her smoking and I have many friends who smoked and now suffer from COPD. Report
I love this list; today is 2 months since I quit smoking, and I'm starting to run for the first time in years. That alone is worth it! Report
Give it up people if you're a smoker..... its VERY bad for your health, its a stupid habit, it makes you stink, it makes other people shun your company.... its a drug that makes some companies VERY rich! Report
Great article Report
I quit 1.75 years ago after 25 plus years of smoking. I thought I'd have a huge hurdle to climb to reverse the damage done to my body. But, the body has a remarkable way of healing itself. I am so thankful that if I remember that my addiction to nicotine is a one day at a time reprieve, then I won't forget the journey to get where I am today. Report
I quit smoking many years ago but enjoyed this article to help remind me why it's so harmful! For anyone still struggling with this, it took me numerous tries, but persistence pays off. No one "enjoyed" smoking more than I. It took hypnosis tapes, lots of reading books and articles to reprogram my brain. Report

You are correct that people will not change until they decide to do so. However, we all know how difficult changing ourselves is, whether it's weight loss, or quitting smoking, changing what we eat for our health, trying to help in the community more, or whatever we feel we need to address in ourselves.

When people engage in change, we need constant reminders WHY we chose to change. That's what this article is.

I'm overweight. I do not take offense when someone gives me a "50 reasons to lose weight" article. I like them. They remind me WHY I'm doing this, and help me stay focused and on track. The reasons they list may not all apply to me, but the list helps me re-focus and keep the end-goals in sight.

I have never smoked, but I can see someone trying to quit reading this article, and using it as a reminder to stay on track, to keep the "end goals" in sight, much as I use the "50 reasons to lose weight" articles I find here (of a similar nature).

Whenever an article is posted on Spark, we can choose to take it as it was intended (as some form of help), or be offended/angered/upset by the content.

I choose to always take the articles on Spark as they were intended: as an aid to a healthier life. I may not always agree with them. I may not like the content. But they are all just offering tips and inspiration to live healthier, and they are catering to many different needs.

How you interpret the same content.... is your choice.