Quitting smoking: Deciding to quit

Whether you’re thinking about it or you’ve already decided to quit smoking, prepare for success by reading about what to expect. You have the power to make it happen.

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Reasons people smoke

Everyone has their own reasons for smoking. You may:

Smoking could also be something that you share with others, or for other personal reasons.

Whatever you feel smoking gives you, you likely already know that it takes away much more. Smoking is deadly, killing half of all people who smoke daily over the long-termFootnote 1. It can lead to serious, chronic diseases that drastically impact your health and life.

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Is it too late to quit? It’s never too late! In fact, people of all ages experience immediate and long-term health benefits from quitting smoking. People who have smoked for many years just as those who started more recently can reap the health and financial benefits of quitting.Footnote 2

Benefits of quitting

Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your life and health. You will start seeing health benefits soon after your last cigarette.Footnote 3

After quitting, within:

Even those who have developed smoking-related problems like heart disease or cancer can benefit from quitting. Compared to continuing to smoke, people who quit smoking after having a heart attack can reduce their chances of having another heart attack by as much as 50%Footnote 4.

Free quit counselling, coaching and other services in your province or territory

Find services to quit smoking

Financial benefits of quitting

Find out how much money you could save by quitting smoking

Cigarette smoking cost calculator

Doubts about quitting

You may be worried about:

The prospect of dealing with nicotine withdrawal symptoms or changing your routine can be additional sources of stress. On the other hand, worrying about the impact smoking has on your health or that of your family and friends can also be very stressful.

Having doubts about quitting is natural but smoking itself also causes stress. Nicotine causes your heart rate and blood pressure to rise, adding more stress to your bodyFootnote 5.

Positive ways to overcome stress

There is no single way to cope with stress because everyone is different. Here are some suggestions:

Learn more about coping with stress

Want to quit smoking but are worried and stressed?

Sexual health and fertility

Over time, smoking affects your nervous, endocrine (hormones) and vascular systems, in ways that can affect sexual function and fertilityFootnote 6. Males who smoke are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction or impotenceFootnote 7. Cigarettes may cause sexual impotence due to decreased blood flow to the penis. This can prevent you from having an erection. However it is possible to fully or partially recover erectile function by quitting smoking.Footnote 8

Learn more about impotence and smoking.

By quitting smoking, females can reduce their risk of Footnote 9:

Deciding to quit during pregnancy 

Quitting smoking before the first prenatal visit can reduce your risk of complications during pregnancy to the same levels as those of persons who don’t smoke. Although quitting early in pregnancy is better, quitting later in pregnancy still benefits your own health, your fetus’s health and the health of your newborn.Footnote 11, Footnote 12

By quitting smoking, you can also reduce:

Learn how to quit smoking when pregnant or nursing

Related Links

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Doll, R., Peto, R., Wheatley, K., Gray, R., Sutherland, I. (1994). Mortality in relation to smoking: 40 years' observations on male British doctors. BMJ, 309(6959), 901-911. doi:10.1136/bmj.309.6959.901

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Footnote 2

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic DiseasePrevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

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Footnote 3

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

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Footnote 4

Fact sheet about health benefits of smoking cessation, World Health Organization Tobacco Free Initiative, https://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/

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Footnote 5

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

Feldman, H.A., Goldstein, I., Hatzichristou, D.G., Krane, R.J., McKinlay, J.B. (1994). Impotence and its Medical and Psychological Correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. The Journal of Urology, 151(1), 54-61.

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

Mannino, D.M., Klevens, R.M., Flanders, W.D. Cigarette Smoking: An Independent Risk Factor for Impotence? (1994). American Journal of Epidemiology, 140(11), 1003-1008.

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Footnote 8

Hirshkowitz, M., Arcasoy, M., Karacan, I., Williams, R., Howell, J. Nocturnal Penile Tumescence in Cigarette Smokers with Erectile Dysfunction. (1992). Urology, 39(2), 101-107.

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Footnote 9

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Return to footnote 9 referrer

Footnote 10

Rowland, A.S., Baird, D.D., Long, S., et al. (2002). Influence of medical conditions and lifestyle factors on the menstrual cycle. Epidemiology, 13(6), 668-674. doi:10.1097/00001648-200211000-00011

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Footnote 11

CANADAPTT: https://www.nicotinedependenceclinic.com/en/canadaptt/ PublishingImages/Pages/CAN-ADAPTT-Guidelines/Pregnant%20and%20Breastfeeding%20Women.pdf

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Footnote 12

Greaves, L., Cormier, R., Devries, K., Bottorff, J., Johnson, J., Kirkland, S. & Aboussafy, D. (2003). A best practices review of smoking cessation interventions for pregnant and postpartum girls and women. Vancouver: British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.

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