Never give up quitting. Whether you’re preparing for a first attempt, a do-over, or you’re in the midst of a quit smoking attempt right now, maintaining motivation is key.

By now you are probably at least a little familiar with the main reasons for quitting smoking, but identifying the most important reasons for you is key to turning initial motivation into lasting willpower.

To help, I’ve compiled some of the top benefits of quitting smoking. Whichever method you choose, there are plenty of reasons to quit, and stay smoke-free. Whether it is your health, your appearance, your finances, or your impact on those around you that has made you think about quitting, be sure to refer back to this list to keep your eye on the prize.

Below are some scientific benefits of quitting smoking:

Your heart – Even light smoking damages the heart and blood vessels. This can lead to coronary heart disease, where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. When this flow is reduced or blocked, heart attack or angina can occur. Quitting can reduce these risks significantly. After one year, your risk of heart disease associated with smoking will be cut in half.

Reducing the risk of lung cancer – Along with looking after your heart, this is one of the major health benefits of quitting smoking. Smokers are as much as 20 times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers. Smoking also increases the risk of other types of cancer. By continuing along your smoke-free journey, you can significantly reduce these risks. It might seem like a long way off now, but if you can rack up ten smoke-free years, you can reduce your risk of lung cancer by half compared to a smoker.

You will save a lot of money – Cigarettes aren’t cheap and however many you used to smoke, you’re not spending that money any more. To get a better idea of how much you will be saving, Nicorette. ca has a cigarette savings calculator.

Your senses may improve. If you love food, this benefit of quitting is huge. Smoking can dull your sense of taste and smell meaning that if you quit, you may start noticing that food tastes better. This can happen as soon as a few days after you quit smoking, so if you have experienced this already, keep it up!

Living longer – Men who quit smoking by the age of 30 can potentially add as much as ten years to their life expectancy. Even those who quit by age 60 can potentially increase life expectancy by three years.

It will improve your skin. The potential effects of smoking on your skin are highlighted by a study that looked at identical twins; one who smoked roughly one pack per week and one who did not smoke. The study found that the twin who had a history of smoking had “more severe skin ageing”. Sagging skin, wrinkles, and changes of skin colour can all be effects of smoking. If you want your skin to look its best, keep your quitting going.

No more winter smoking – You won’t have to go out in search of a place to smoke, which means no more outdoor smoking in sub-zero Canadian winter temperatures.

Breathing easier – As you adjust to a life without cigarettes, your lungs relax and you can get more air into them, enabling you to breathe easier.

Smelling better – Whether it’s your home, your clothes, your car, or even your breath, they all smell of cigarettes when you smoke. While you might have got used to it, the unpleasant odour is noticeable for those around you. The good news is that this will start to change almost from the moment you quit.

Stop snoring – Research has shown that smoking increases the risk of snoring – even among passive smokers. The good news is that the study also found habitual snoring for ex-smokers was lower than for current smokers, so if you do snore, staying smoke-free could help.

People around you – By quitting, you lower the chance that people you spend time with will be impacted by your smoking. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, more than 250 Canadians die each year from lung cancer as a result of long term exposure to second hand smoke.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time:

20 minutes after quitting

Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

12 hours after quitting

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting

Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after quitting

Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year after quitting

The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.

5 years after quitting

Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.

10 years after quitting

Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

15 years after quitting

Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps your heart and lungs.

Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

Quitting while you’re younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Are there benefits of quitting that I’ll notice right away?

Kicking the smoking habit offers some rewards that you’ll notice right away and some that will show up over time.

Right away you’ll save the money you spent on tobacco! And here are just a few other benefits you may notice:

  • Food tastes better.
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal.
  • Your breath, hair, and clothes smell better.
  • Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).
  • You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.

Quitting also helps stop the damaging effects of smoking on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss.

And say ‘NO’ to smoking!