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.

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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.

Typical judgmental, condescending propaganda from someone who has apparently decided that smokers are just stupid and ignorant and will quit just as soon as someone points out to them the "facts". Perhaps those passing judgment should sit back and consider the "fact" that almost everyone at some point in their lives will make choices that could just as easily be judged as detrimental to themselves and society (distracted driving, speeding, overeating, use of alcohol, jaywalking, any extreme sports, letting a pet run loose, overuse of vitamins or supplements or antibiotics, to name a few). I suspect that those in judgment still want to reserve their right to make those choices for themselves, based on their own perception that they are getting a benefit from that choice, without being harassed by condescending articles, lists, and comments from others who disagree with their choices.

As for the "facts" listed above - there are a goodly amount of subjective presumptions included among the actual science. Most smokers or former smokers that I personally know (myself included) strongly disagree with all of the subjective presumptions (example: items 40-47 inclusive). As a general rule, smokers continue smoking because they perceive a benefit (they simply enjoy the taste and motions, they enjoy the physical effects, they enjoy having the excuse to get away from annoying social situations, they find that the conversations out with the smokers are more open, fun, and non-judgmental, etc.) Smokers are intelligent enough to know and understand the science behind the potential health issues caused by smoking, but have decided that the benefits that they perceive from continuing to smoke currently outweigh those issues. It really is no different than the vast numbers of people who know and understand the science behind the potential dangers of speeding, but perceive that the benefit of getting there sooner outweighs those issues.

For those who think that this is a "great article" that they want to pass on to their friends and relatives who smoke --- just how would you feel if those friends and relatives forwarded to you every article listing "50 reasons to lose weight"? Do you think that you might feel insulted that they feel that you are so stupid and ignorant that you are not aware of any potential health issues caused by obesity? Frankly, if you want to send a smoker this article as revenge for them sending you the "50 reasons to stop overeating" then all power to you - but doing it for any other reason is just rude and insulting.

Smokers, just like anyone making a choice that is judged by others, will change when they WANT to change and when they feel that the perceived benefit no longer outweighs the issues. When they truly WANT to change, then whatever method that they choose will work. A truly helpful article would be titled something like "When you have decided to quit" and give a listing of various methods, aids, and assistance centres along with any relevant stats as to their success rates.

Random lists such as this one do nothing at all for smokers - although I'm sure that they do a lovely job of reinforcing the attitudes among the holier-than-thou that they are RIGHT to continue harassing the poor, stupid fools who continue to make choices that they disagree with. Report
One of the most important things I've accomplished in my life was to quit smoking. October 1999....16 years 7 months and counting! I started at age 13 sneaking cigarettes and my Mom began to buy packs for me at age 16. It was legal to do that back in the 80's; our high school even had a smoking section! Thankfully we've come a long way since then. Now we need to get rid of vapor cigarettes! The youth today thinks they are safe....sad... Report
I am soooo THANKFUL that I only smoked as a teen !! I LOVED IT won't say I didn't, but I joined a religion that forbids it,, THANKFULLY !! I have NO DOUBT this has saved my life. My Mom died from breast cancer and my evil step father died from empathzema. Out of us 5 kids, 2 smoke, the rest of us were discusted ! YEAH !! I have some friends,,, 2 who have cancer associated with smoking,,,, maybe seeing how QUICKLY they can smell,, taste food,,, and than breathe easier (if they live long enough sadly !) it may help them to see the need to quit.. Report
Great article! I have never smoked, but some family members do! I'm going to pass this info on to them! Thanks! Report
as much as I struggle with my own addictions and vices and pitfalls, I empathize with the smokers I've known. I'm so proud of the ones that have quit because I could see it was a real struggle for them. Some continue to struggle - will be off and then relapse. I totally understand that on and off, even though smoking was never something that I took up (for a variety of reasons, but I guess that's just the way life worked for me. But like I said ... I struggle and relapse in other ways.). Report