World No Tobacco Day: reasons to quit smoking

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 23 May 2024

Smoking is widely recognised as a significant contributor to various health risks, including heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases, among others. As such, the government in Singapore and across the world, have implemented various measures to curb smoking, including increased taxes on cigarettes and restricted smoking areas.

However, while Singapore has one of the lowest percentages of the global population with smokers, approximately 10% of the population continues to smoke, according to CNA. And despite knowing why smoking is bad for their health, they say it’s challenging for them to quit due to the cigarette’s habit-forming nature.

To help encourage individuals to take steps to stop smoking, we explore the immediate and long-term benefits of stopping smoking, along with the different ways of how to quit.

The immediate benefits of quitting smoking

When taking steps to stop smoking, healthcare professionals suggest that it can bring immediate health benefits. This is the timeline of how your body could potentially recover should you cut back or quit the nicotine intake:

Within 8 hours of quitting smoking

  • Carbon monoxide levels in your blood decrease, and your lungs gradually improve.
  • Oxygen levels in your blood increase.

Within 48 hours of quitting smoking

  • You have reduced chances of developing heart disease.
  • Your sense of smell and taste improve.

Within 72 hours of quitting smoking

  • Breathing becomes easier as your bronchial tubes relax.
  • Decline in lung function stops.
  • Your energy levels increase.

Within 3 months of quitting smoking

  • Blood circulation improves.
  • Blood pressure returns to normal.
  • For men: Sperm count returns to normal.
  • For women: Fertility improves.
  • Lung capacity increases, making walking and aerobic activity easier.

Long-term health benefits of stopping smoking

Quitting smoking not only brings immediate health improvements but also significant long-term benefits that could potentially enhance your quality of life and longevity. Here are some of the profound long-term benefits you can expect when you stop smoking:

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases: When you stop smoking long-term, it has the propensity to mitigate cardiovascular conditions and complications, especially when you achieve it in a timely manner.
  • Lowered cancer risk: One of the most significant benefits of quitting smoking is potentially decreasing the risk of developing various types of cancer, most notably lung cancer.
  • Improved lung function: When the carbon monoxide gradually leaves your body after you quit smoking, it can help address issues such as shortness of breath and coughing. It could also reduce the likelihood of other respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Enhanced immune system efficiency: Smoking weakens the immune system, consequently making it harder for your body to fight off infections. Once you quit, it could help in restoring your immune response so your body can handle combating infections and diseases.
  • Better reproductive health: For women, quitting smoking can lead to better reproductive health outcomes, including a lower risk of infertility and a healthier pregnancy. Men may see improved sperm quality and reduced risk of erectile dysfunction.

Strategies that could help you quit smoking

Like most habit-forming acts, you should take it slow when it comes to quitting smoking. After all, recovery can take time, and it will take commitment to fully let the habit go.

To help you get started on your journey to putting down the cigarettes, consider these strategies:

  • Utilise nicotine replacement therapies: Consider using nicotine replacement products such as patches, gum, or lozenges. These tools are designed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms by providing small, controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful effects of tobacco.
  • Engage in activities: Keep yourself engaged with hobbies, physical exercise, or new activities. Staying active can help divert your attention away from the urge to smoke.
  • Create a support network: Share your goal with friends and family. Support from loved ones can provide you with motivation and accountability, which can be crucial during tough moments in your journey.
  • Avoid smoking triggers: Identify the situations, environments, or feelings that trigger your smoking urges and try to avoid them. Consider replacing your smoking routines with healthier alternatives, like snacking on fruits or chewing sugar-free gum.
  • Reward yourself: Set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Whether it’s a day, a week, or a month without smoking, each achievement is progress. Use the money you would have spent on cigarettes to treat yourself to something more enjoyable.

How visiting a general practitioner clinic can help you

When visiting a general practitioner clinic, a private doctor could help you get on the right track to quitting smoking. They can work closely with you to create a plan based on your condition and smoking history. Also, they could prescribe medications that help manage withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. We have a Smoking Cessation programme where we will guide you along the path to quitting with the help of specialised practitioners such as therapists and health coaches.

As part of Osler’s Smoking Cessation programme you will receive regular follow-up visits, allowing our private doctors here in Singapore to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to your health plan. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and we;re here to support you.. This comprehensive approach addresses the physical challenges associated with ceasing the habit and the psychological aspects so you can potentially achieve your smoke-free life.

For more health advice, check out our road map for healthy living and longevity.

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