What is the bottom line for smokers who want to protect their health?

Imran K. Niazi, MD
Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology

Do yourself a favor and STOP … NOW!

Smoking has many ill effects that cause health problems, and it can impact your lifestyle significantly, even before it causes obvious disease. Cigarette smoke contains a witch's brew of chemicals that are absorbed directly into your body through the delicate membranes of your lungs.

Stopping smoking can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure, and lessen your chances of getting throat and lung cancer, while giving you more energy, clearing your complexion and improving your sex life.

Smoking is one of the most serious risk factors that can cause heart attacks. After a heart attack, smoking cessation is the single most effective step you can take to prevent a second heart attack. It is far more important to stop smoking than to lose weight, exercise, reduce stress, reduce cholesterol, etc. All of these are helpful, but stopping smoking is the most important of them all.

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
Quit, if possible. If not, try to balance other aspects of life to reduce risk factors for heart disease and cancer. This includes: exercise, dietary modification with a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The bottom line is that no chewed or smoked tobacco product, type of filter, brand, or number of cigarettes is safe. It's not safe if it's organic or all-natural. It's not safe if it's vegan, antioxidant-rich, vitamin-infused, mixed with broccoli, or laced with pure gold. If you want to protect your health and the health of your loved ones, you need to eliminate tobacco from your life entirely. You need to find the right program, medication, or smoking cessation method that meets your needs, and you need to stick with it. You also need to adopt some healthy habits, improve your nutrition, get more exercise, and seek adequate support. Thousands, if not millions, of people just like you have quit tobacco. That's one club worth joining.
Quitting will improve a person’s well being at any age and may improve the condition of people already dealing with smoking-related illnesses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quitting by age 30 eliminates nearly all excess risk associated with smoking; smokers who quit smoking before age 50 cut in half their risk of dying in the next 15 years.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

Well, the very straight forward and simple answer is quit. The first day you quit, you are going to start improving your chances for better health. Even if you smoked for many, many years, 40 years, if you stop you still have a better chance of improving and being healthier.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Get help is the bottom line.  Quitting cold-turkey 2% to 3% success rate.  Pill or patch is 10%.  Pill and patch together is 15% to 20%.  Pill, patch, and behavioral therapy, that is getting help from a quit line, or support group, or buddy, is 30% plus.  But whatever method you use, and believe me there is no badness in using pills or patches, or both together, as we commonly do at the Cleveland Clinic - quitting is the best thing you can do for your health, for your well being, and for your enjoyment of life, both sexual and other enjoyments of vigor and vitality.  Smokers die 8 to 13 years earlier than nonsmokers, and worse at 12 to 18 years more disability, more hardship, more pain and suffering before they die, than nonsmokers typically.

Piedmont Heart Institute
Administration

For smokers who want to protect their health, here's the bottom line:

There is no such thing as a safe cigarette. The only proven way to reduce the risk of smoking-related disease is to quit smoking completely. Smokers who quit live longer than those who continue to smoke. In addition, the earlier smokers quit, the greater the health benefit. Research has shown that people who quit before age 30 eliminate almost all of their risk of developing a tobacco-related disease. Even smokers who quit at age 50 reduce their risk of dying from a tobacco-related disease. Quitting also decreases the risk of lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and chronic lung disease.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

Continue Learning about Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco products can lead to severe health problems and even death. While quitting smoking can be very difficult for some smokers, there are smoking cessation programs and medications that can help smokers quit. There are ...

many lifelong benefits of doing so, like increased lung function and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Understanding the importance of quitting smoking and all options available to help stop smoking is key to long-term success.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.