Take control of your health before your luck runs out. This article could save your life!

Why you should stop smoking - Women's Health & Fitness

The damage
In Australia, smoking is the largest single cause of death and disease in Australia, with 290 people dying from smoking-related deaths every week.

The risks
It’s not just that smoking smells, causes premature ageing and is an expensive habit, it is responsible for many fatal illnesses such as cancers, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, asthma and blindness.

The cut-off point
Obviously, nobody should start smoking. But if you do, it’s never too late to quit. According to a University of Oxford study involving over a million women, quitting smoking by age 30 can significantly help the once-smoker avoid an early death. Those who quit by 40 can cut the risk by 90 percent.

The recovery
“Stopping works, amazingly well, actually,” says study author Professor Sir Richard Peto from Oxford University. “Smoking kills, stopping works and the earlier you stop, the better,” he says.

The short-term perks
The best thing about stopping smoking is that you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately. “Within just one day of smoking, almost all of the nicotine is out of your bloodstream, and the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped and more oxygen can reach your heart and muscles,” says general practitioner Dr Ronald McCoy. “The longer you abstain, the healthier you’ll be: within six months, your lungs are working much better and exercising will be easier, as more air is getting into your lungs.”

The long-term perks
Within two to five years, there is a large drop in your risk of heart attack and stroke. “For women, within five years, your risk of cervical cancer is the same as someone who has never smoked,” he says.
After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is markedly lower than that of a continuing smoker, and continues to decline (provided the disease is not already present). After 15 years, your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to that of a person who has never smoked.

How long that craving will last
“Withdrawal symptoms usually appear within the first 24 hours and peak in the first week. On average, most symptoms fade and are gone after one month. Six months after quitting, people usually feel the same as or better than when they were smoking,” says Dr McCoy.

Feeling stressed? It's time to get motivated and juggle that work-life balance. Find out how to improve your sex life and maintain lasting friendships.

Photo credit: Thinkstock