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5 health benefits of quitting smoking

Tuesday 6 June 2017

An older man stands in a paddock, resting his arms on the gate and smiling.
It's never too late, or too early, to quit smoking and improve your health.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but the benefits to your health make it worthwhile. Within days, you’ll notice the positive effects of stopping smoking, and as the months and years pass, your decision to stop smoking will reduce your risk of a number of serious health conditions.

Below we’ve listed just a few of the health improvements you can expect after stopping smoking, and links to information that can help you quit.

Rediscover smell and taste

Within just a few days of quitting smoking, your senses of smell and taste will improve. Tobacco contains chemicals which can dull your taste buds, making you taste and smell less. When you stop smoking, this effect gradually lessens.

You might notice that you liked foods and drinks with really strong flavours while you smoked, but increasingly enjoy a variety of foods and their subtle flavours once you have quit.

Reduce risk of heart disease

Smoking can increase your risk of heart disease because it causes your arteries to narrow. Heart disease is serious and often fatal, causing heart attack, stroke and angina.

After you stop smoking, your risk of death by heart disease is halved within just one year, compared to continuing smokers. After ten years, your risk of heart disease will be the same as a person who has never smoked.

Healthier lungs

One of the most serious ways smoking effects your health is the impact it has on your lungs. Smoking cigarettes causes 9 out of 10 lung cancers in Australia, and most people who get lung cancer will die from it.

Just like each cigarette you smoke increases your risk of developing lung cancer, each day you spend smoke-free reduces this risk. After ten years of not smoking, your chance of developing lung cancer will halve. The earlier you quit smoking, the more this risk will reduce.

Live longer

Quitting at any age is the best thing you can do for your health. Because of the negative impacts smoking has on your health, on average smokers die younger than non-smokers. When quitting gets tough, think about the extra time you could have to enjoy because you chose to quit, spending time with family and friends, going to events and on holidays, and making good memories.

A young asian boy hugs his pregnant mum's belly.

Healthier families

Your smoking doesn’t just affect your health. Your family are particularly vulnerable to breathing in second-hand smoke from your cigarettes, which can cause serious, even deadly, health conditions.

Stopping smoking could reduce your family’s risk of developing cancers, respiratory infections and asthma. If you’re planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding, now is a good time to quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy harms your baby and may lead to a greater chance of: miscarriage, birth complications, have an underweight baby, premature birth, and baby being born with weaker lungs.

How to quit

With all the evidence that quitting smoking can make you healthier, it’s no wonder that most smokers say they have tried to quit at least once.

Giving up cigarettes isn’t something you have to do alone. Visit the Queensland Government website for information on how to quit, and find more support and information through:

Last updated: 23 August 2017