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10 Reasons to quit smoking

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Kick butts for your health

Did you know that cigarette smoking is the #1 cause of preventable deaths in the US - with one in every five deaths being related to the widespread habit? Living longer is certainly one reason to kick the habit, but here are 10 more reasons to ditch the death sticks for good.

Woman Quitting Smoking

You can – and should – quit smoking

If you smoke and are part of the nearly 70 percent of smokers who want to quit smoking, there are a number of smoking cessation techniques you can use to kick the habit. Experts recommend counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, as well as perseverance. Though only about four to five percent of smokers who to try to quit each year succeed in stopping smoking permanently, with repeated attempts, nearly 40 to 50 percent of smokers eventually succeed in kicking the habit for good. That means you may not quit smoking on your first try but if you persevere, you will succeed.

My Body
  1. Smoking is responsible for 87% of lung cancer cases. It also hurts your heart and your digestive system.
  2. HPV is more persistent in smoker's bodies.
  3. Smokers are 350x more likely to develop macular degeneration... which leads to blindness.

10 Reasons to quit smoking for good

Puffing cigarettes can certainly shorten your life, but it can also hurt your health in many other irreversible ways. Though living longer should be motivation enough to kick the habit, we hope the following health risks will convince you to commit to quit.

Quit smoking reason #1: Reduce your risk of lung cancer

Lung cancer accounts for 26 percent of cancer deaths among women reports the Lung Cancer Alliance. Just 50 years ago, lung cancer accounted for only three percent. Though smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer, it can greatly increase your risk of developing this deadly disease. According to the American Lung Association, smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of reported lung cancer cases.

Quit smoking reason #2: Protect yourself from HPV

In the book The HPV Vaccine Controversy, author Dr Shobha S Krishnan warns that smoking can make existing HPV infections persist in the body and even cause HPV-related diseases because smoking weakens the immune system.

Quit smoking reason #3: Save your eyesight

Dr Edward Paul, one of the world's leading authorities on macular degeneration, says smoking increases a patient's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness in Americans 65 years old and older – by a whopping 350 percent.

Quit smoking reason #4: Your heart-health

Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke - among other diseases – and the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk. Even reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day can help protect your heart. A study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research reports that fewer cigarettes can decrease "bad" cholesterol, increase "good" cholesterol, and improve the blood's ability to transport oxygen – meaning you will feel less winded during exertion. Kicking the habit for good delivers even more heart-health benefits.

Quit smoking reason #5: Keep your teeth

A study in BMC Public Health earlier this year indicates that current smokers are significantly more likely to lose their teeth than former smokers or nonsmokers aged 20 to 38 years old. That's too young to be losing teeth! Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes stain teeth, meaning the teeth you don't lose will stay a dingy shade of yellow.

Quit smoking reason #6: Live longer

Don't you have family and friends you enjoy spending time with? What about your kids – don't you want to see them grow up, get married and have kids of their own? Quitting smoking will lengthen your life – as well as improve its quality – and the healthy results of kicking the habit are realized rather quickly. A May 2008 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 61 percent of the full benefit of quitting in regard to coronary heart disease mortality and 42 percent of the full benefit of quitting in regard to cerebrovascular deaths was realized within the first five years.

Quit smoking reason #7: Improve your fertility

Having trouble conceiving? In the article Smoking adds a decade to your fertility age, experts say smoking could be hurting your chances. However, lead researcher Dr Bea Lintsen, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, says: "The positive news from our results is that they suggest that couples – in particular, women with unexplained subfertility – may be able to improve the success of IVF treatment by quitting smoking."

Quit smoking reason #8: Stay beautiful

According to Kori Ellis, author of 8 Healthy skincare tips, studies show that the skin of cigarette smokers ages more than twice as fast as that of non-smokers. Smoking dehydrates your skin and depletes it of essential nutrients. She suggests that you detoxify your skin by quitting smoking and/or limiting your exposure to second hand smoke and other pollutants.

Quit smoking reason #9: Better your digestive health

Believe it or not, smoking can contribute to digestive diseases. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases warns that smoking can effect all parts of the digestive system, contributing to such common disorders as heartburn and peptic ulcers as well as increasing the risk of Crohn's disease, and possibly gallstones, which form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Smoking can even damage your liver.

Quit smoking reason #10: Be a good role model

Even though packs of smokes say smoking is hazardous to your health, your kids are going to look to you for guidance. If you smoke, chances are great they will, too. If you don't, you improve the chances they won't, either. If you quit, you are showing them that smoking is a poor choice for long-term health and, as importantly, you are showing them that you care enough about them as well as yourself to live to see them grow up and have kids of their own.

Do you need help to quit smoking?

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