Benefits of quitting
Quitting smoking at any age will help to improve your health.
Once you stop smoking:
- you will reduce your chances of cancer and heart disease
- your fitness will improve
- you will increase your chances of living longer and spending quality time with your family and friends
- you won’t be exposing your family to dangerous second-hand smoke.
How much do you spend?
Quitting smoking will give you more money for other things.
Have you ever sat down and worked out just how much you spend on cigarettes, and what you could do with that money if you didn’t smoke? It’s a worthwhile exercise. You will probably be surprised just how it adds up. Make a list of the things you could do with that money – if you saved for a week, or a month, or a year.
Harms to your health
Most people know there are possible long-term consequences from regular smoking, but don’t think too much about what those consequences might be. Make no mistake – regular smoking dramatically increases your chance of developing serious conditions 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 smoke too.
If you smoke at home, in the car or at work, the people with you are breathing in your cigarette smoke. This is called passive smoking and the smoke they are breathing in is called second-hand smoke.
No amount of passive or second-hand smoke is safe.
Babies and young children breathe faster than adults, so they take in more smoke in smoky rooms than adults, and take longer to clear the poisons from tobacco smoke from their bodies. Smaller airways and tiny ear passages affected by tobacco smoke 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 sickness and missing school.
Cigarette smoke stays on clothing, skin, carpet and fabric even after the smell has gone, causing risks to children even after the cigarette has been smoked.
Here are some tips to protect your family from the harms of second-hand smoke:
- Smoke outside, away from open doors, windows and washing lines.
- Wear a shirt over normal clothes when smoking and remove the over-shirt before holding the baby.
- Wash your face and hands after every cigarette.
- Move away from others when they smoke.
- Use stickers to tell others your home and car are smoke-free zones.
Smoking when pregnant
Smoking when you’re pregnant can:
- make it harder for your baby to get the food and oxygen it needs
- increase the chance of a miscarriage
- cause your baby to be born sickly
- cause your labour to be more difficult and increase the chance of your baby dying at birth
- cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) after your baby is born\make your baby sick throughout its life
- increase the chance of your child becoming a smoker later in life.
It is never too late to quit smoking during pregnancy to improve both your own health and that of your baby.
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 or cut down, because this will stop lots of poisons being passed to your baby through breast milk. If you can’t manage this, you should keep breastfeeding, because it will help protect your baby against sickness. You should breastfeed your baby just before smoking (or using Nicotine Replacement Therapy) to reduce the amount of nicotine your baby will get in breast milk.