Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner your body can start to heal. You will feel better and have more energy to be active with your family and friends.
Smoking hurts almost every part of the body.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking causes:
- Lung cancer and many other types of cancer
- Heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases
- Pregnancy problems
- Gum disease
- Vision loss
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Learn more about how smoking affects different parts of the body.
Smoking also hurts the people around you.
Secondhand smoke can cause health problems for other people, too – and even pets.
In babies and children, breathing in secondhand smoke can cause:
- Severe asthma attacks
- Ear infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
In adults, breathing in secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
How can I quit smoking?
Start by thinking about why you want to quit. If you’ve tried to quit before, think about what worked and what didn’t. This will help you find the right quitting strategies.
Quitting smoking is hard, but millions of people have done it successfully. In fact, more than half of Americans who have ever smoked have quit. You could be one of them!
Try these tips to help you quit.
- Set a quit date and make a quit plan.
- Get support from family, friends, and coworkers.
- Find out about counseling and medicines that can help you quit.
- Change your routine. For example, take a different route to work.
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit Smokefree.gov for free help.
- Remind yourself why you decided to quit.
Nicotine – the drug found in tobacco – is just as addictive as heroin or cocaine. It’s the nicotine in cigarettes that causes the strong feeling that you want to smoke (craving). Remember – quitting isn’t easy, but it is possible!
Find out more about steps you can take as you prepare to quit smoking.
You will feel better after you quit.
Your body begins to heal as soon as you quit smoking. Here are some ways you will feel better:
- You will breathe more easily.
- Your senses of taste and smell will improve.
- You will have more energy.
- Your lungs will become stronger, making it easier for you to be active.
- You will cough and wheeze (struggle to breathe) less.
Find out more about how quitting smoking will help your health.
What else will quitting do for me?
Quitting smoking will help you live a longer, healthier life. After you quit smoking:
- Your risk of having a heart attack or stroke goes down.
- Your lungs can fight off infection better.
- Your risk of dying from cancer goes down.
- Your blood pressure goes down.
- Your pulse and blood oxygen level return to normal.
- If you have children, they will be healthier. Children whose parents smoke around them are at higher risk for lung and ear infections.
Read these real stories of people who have been hurt by smoking.
Will quitting make me gain weight?
Some people worry about gaining weight when they quit smoking. The average weight gain after quitting smoking is small – about 6 to 10 pounds.
To help control your weight as you quit smoking:
- Get active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast or dancing.
- Eat healthy snacks, like vegetables or fruit.
- Talk with your doctor about ways to control your weight.
For more information, check out this booklet on smoking and weight [PDF – 410 KB].