Benefits of quitting
Quitting smoking at any age will help to improve your health.
Once you quit smoking, you will:
- reduce your chance of heart disease and cancer
- improve your fitness
- increase your likelihood of living longer
- spend more quality time with family and friends
- reduce your family’s exposure to harmful second-hand smoke.
How much do you spend?
When you quit smoking, you will have more money for other things.
It’s a worthwhile exercise to work out how much you spend on cigarettes and what you could do with the money if you didn’t smoke. It adds up quickly – you may be surprised!
Making a list of the things you could do with that money is a great incentive for quitting smoking. How much would you save each week, each month and each year.
Check out the ‘Cost calculator’ to find out how many cigarettes you have smoked in your lifetime and how much you have spent on cigarettes:
Find out what you could buy with your savings:
Harms to your health
You probably know there are possible long-term consequences from smoking. But do you ever think about what those consequences might be? Smoking significantly increases your likelihood of developing serious health problems like:
- lung and other cancers
- coronary heart disease
- emphysema and other chronic lung diseases
- gum disease
Smoking around others
When you smoke around family and friends, they are at risk of health harms associated with second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke is made up of both the smoke you breathe out after taking a puff on a cigarette and the side-stream smoke, which comes from the end of a lit cigarette.
If you smoke at home, at work or in your car, the people around you breathe in your tobacco smoke. Essentially, they are smoking too – it’s called passive smoking. No amount of passive or second-hand smoke is safe.
Check out these tips to protect your family and friends from the harms of second-hand smoke:
- Smoke outside, away from open windows, doors, and washing lines (residue tobacco toxins can infuse the clothes on your washing line).
- Wear a shirt over your regular clothes when smoking and remove the over-shirt once you have finished the cigarette, particularly if you are going to hold a baby. Get into the habit of washing your face and hands after every cigarette.
- Stay away from others when they smoke.
- Put ‘smoke free’ sticker on your front door and let people know your home and car are smoke-free zones.
Smoking and children
Babies and young children breathe faster than adults, so they take in more smoke than adults, and their bodies take longer to get rid of the toxins from tobacco smoke. They have smaller airways and tiny ear passages, which are affected by tobacco smoke and get blocked more easily.
Not smoking around children reduces their risk of:
- chest infections, coughs and colds
- ear infections and hearing problems
- problems with learning and behaviour caused by missing school due to sickness.
Toxins from cigarette smoke stay on skin, clothing, carpet and curtains even after the smell has gone. The toxins cause risks to children even after the cigarette has been smoked, which is why it’s very important that you don’t smoke inside your home or vehicle.
Smoking when pregnant
Smoking when you are pregnant can increase the risk of:
- making it harder for your baby to get food and oxygen
- your baby being born unwell, which can continue to cause ongoing problems
- a more difficult labour, increasing the chance of your baby dying at birth
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after your baby is born
- your child becoming a smoker later in life.
If you are pregnant now, it is never too late to quit smoking during pregnancy. It will improve your own health as well as your baby’s health.
If you are an Aboriginal woman living in South Australia who smokes, and you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family, visit giveupsmokes.com.au for quitting opportunities.
Smoking when breastfeeding
If you smoke and are breastfeeding, the best thing you can do for your baby is quit smoking or cut down the amount you smoke. This will stop lots of poisons being passed to your baby through your breast milk. If you are unable to manage this, keep breastfeeding because it will help protect your baby against sickness. Breastfeed just before smoking (or using nicotine replacement therapy) to reduce the amount of toxins your baby will ingest through breast milk.
Smoking and your pets’ health
If you have pets and smoke around them, they can experience health effects that are very similar to those seen in humans regularly exposed to cigarette smoke. Cancer and respiratory illnesses are just two of the diseases seen in pets that have owners who smoke. Visit the Smoking and your pets’ health page for more information.