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Monday, March 13, 2006

Smoking

Risks for women
The more you smoke, the greater your risk. However, just one or two cigarettes a day are more than enough to cause lung cancer. Chronic lung disease is also common among older smokers, destroying busy and active lives.

Smoking also increases your risk of heart disease. And if you smoke and take the contraceptive pill, your risk of heart disease is 30 times that of a non-smoker.

Smoking affects your skin too. It ages more quickly in smokers, with the early appearance of wrinkles and thinning of the skin.

Benefits of quitting
The good news is, many of the benefits of quitting smoking are immediate. Food will taste better and your breathing will become easier. Even if you’ve smoked for 30 years, your risk of heart disease will halve within a year of stopping.

There are financial benefits of kicking the weed, too. Assuming a packet of 20 cigarettes costs around $3.50 and that you smoke a packet a day, a year’s supply of cigarettes costs you around $1,277.50. In a lifetime of smoking (40 years, if you’re lucky enough to live that long) means sending $51100.00 up in smoke.

How to quit
  • Make a plan – decide your quit date, detail how you’ll react to temptations, even make a list of the pros and cons of smoking to keep on track.
  • Get motivated – imagine the Mediterranean beach you could be basking on with all the money saved from kicking the habit, or set your own goal or treat.
  • Get support – from your GP and most importantly from your family and friends.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Trisha Macnair in August 2005. First published in November 1997.

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