Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” – Mark Twain

In 1994, an estimated 69 percent of U.S. smokers wanted to quit. In fact, 46 percent attempted for at least one day.” (American
Cancer Society)

Cigarette smokers die younger than nonsmokers. In fact, smoking decreases a person’s life expectancy by 10-12 years. Smokers between the ages of 35 and 70 have death rates three times higher than those who have never smoked. Smoking causes everything from premature wrinkling of the skin, bad breath, and yellow nails, to heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, peripheral vascular disease, and cancer. It’s never too late to quit. People who stop using tobacco, even after many years of use, can greatly reduce their risk of all smoking related illnesses, including oral cancer. Smokers will start to see the benefit of quitting within twenty minutes of their last cigarette when blood pressure drops and the temperature of hands and feet increase to normal. After 8 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood also drops to normal. Between 2 weeks and three months of quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases up to 30 percent. Within 1 to 9 months of quitting, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease. Additionally, cilia (tiny hair-like formations that line air passages, and in non smokers, sweep harmful material out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection. 1 year after quitting, coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. 5 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. After 10 years, the lung cancer death rate decreases by almost half. After 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

European Respiratory Society, CEASE trial, January 1999. Higher dosage nicotine patches increase one-year smoking cessation rates.

More on quitting smoking

Government Resources

  • Smokefree.gov
  • A Web site dedicated to helping you quit smoking.

Other Resources

Cessation links