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This is Your Sign to Quit Smoking for a Healthier You

This is Your Sign to Quit Smoking for a Healthier You

It is common knowledge that smoking is harmful to one’s health but why do so many people still smoke? Every smoker has different reasons for their smoking. It is no one’s place to judge others but it may be helpful to spread education and awareness of the risks of smoking. You cannot force someone to stop smoking but you can encourage them. Providing support to your loved ones may be the best way to help them stop smoking. Cigarette smoking is harmful to the entire body and contributes to many diseases. Quitting smoking can improve health and add years on to one’s life. 

Review of the Respiratory System 

The respiratory system is made up of many parts including lungs, muscles, tissues, vessels, and other organs. All of these parts work together to provide the body with oxygen and discard carbon dioxide. The respiratory system also aids in speaking and smelling. There are many medical conditions that can affect the lungs including asthma, cancer, allergies, infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and more. The number one way to keep lungs healthy and prevent disease is to not smoke. 

A Short History of Tobacco

Tobacco is from the leaves of a plant called Nicotiana. The first use of tobacco is thought to have been approximately the first century BC. Tobacco was used not just for smoking but also for religious ceremonies. Later on, people who were involved in caring for others started to use tobacco to treat illnesses. The use of tobacco spread throughout the world and gained popularity. During the time of Columbus, tobacco started to be smoked in pipes, cigars, and snuff (Mishra and Mishra, 2013).  

Cigarettes were introduced in North America in the early 19th century and started to become popular around the time of the Civil War. During World War I, cigarettes were promoted by doctors for helping wounded soldiers relax and ease pain. 

Smoking was first linked to lung cancer and other diseases in the early 1950s. As more knowledge was gained, more smoking restrictions were put in place and more education was provided to the public on the risks of smoking (CDC, 2015). 

Interesting Smoking Statistics 

  • Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States and Canada. 
  • Greater than 10 times the amount of Americans have prematurely died from smoking compared to all the wars fought by America.
  • Smoking causes more deaths every year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm incidents combined.
  • More than 45,000 deaths every year in Canada are due to smoking.
  • In Canada, approximately 75% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.


For more smoking statistics check out Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking by the CDC and Tobacco Control from the Canadian Cancer Society. 

How Is Smoking Harmful to Your Health?

Smoking is considered one of the worst things you can do for your health. There are several chemicals and carcinogens in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Cancer-causing agents are known as carcinogens. There are numerous negative health effects of smoking and diseases that smoking contributes to. In the United States, cigarette smoking contributes to over 480,000 deaths each year and in Canada over 45,000 deaths are caused by smoking. 

Disease That Smoking Contributes Too 

There are numerous diseases and medical conditions that smoking contributes to and increases the risk of including, 

  • Several Types of Cancers
  • Stroke
  • Heart diseases
  • Heart attack
  • Vascular diseases
  • Blood clots
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
  • Emphysema 
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis 
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Infections 
  • Diabetes 

These are just some of the many diseases that smoking contributes to. 

Vaping and E-cigarettes

Vaping and E-cigarettes have become popular among many people in recent years. Both are thought to be less harmful than cigarettes but they are still not considered healthy. Long-term studies and research is needed to better evaluate the harmful effects of vaping and E-cigarettes.  

Recent Research on the Benefits of Quitting Smoking 

Recently, research presented at the 2022 scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology suggested that quitting smoking adds years to one’s life with the same effectiveness as heart disease medications. Per researcher Dr. Tinka Van Trier, “The benefits of smoking cessation are even greater than we realized…Our study shows that kicking the habit appears to be as effective as taking three medications for preventing heart attacks and strokes in those with a prior heart attack or procedure to open blocked arteries. Patients could gain nearly five years of healthy life”. To read more about this presentation, click here.  

Tips to Quit Smoking 

There are several methods to quit smoking. Do not get discouraged if a certain method does not work for you because there are several other types of methods to try. If you are struggling to quit smoking, make an appointment to speak with your healthcare provider. They may be able to help you with prescription medications or other resources.

Making the decision to quit smoking is the first step. You should identify why and what your motivation is for quitting smoking. Next, create a plan. This can take some time and much thought. Explore several of the quitting methods to find which one would be best for you. It may also help to speak to your healthcare provider about your plan to quit smoking. Lastly, implement your quitting plan. This will probably not be easy and that is why it is important to remember your reason and motivation for quitting. Engage your family and friends in your plan to quit. They can provide support and encouragement to help you. Again, if your plan fails there is nothing wrong with trying again or using a different method. For more useful information on quitting smoking, check out the American Cancer Society’s guide on How to Quit Using Tobacco. 


 It is never too late to quit smoking. It is well known that smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health. It contributes to numerous medical conditions. Quitting smoking can add years to your life. There are several methods to quit smoking. If the first method or first attempt to quit smoking does work, keep trying. Don’t give up on improving your health. 

About the Author 

Victoria Derlin is a nurse who started her career working in acute care and now works in primary care. She is passionate about advocating for nurses and patients. In her spare time, she rides horses, reads lots of books, bakes delicious pies, and spends time with her family.  You can connect with her on instagram @nurse.vicki.rn 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, July 21). 2000 surgeon general's report highlights: Tobacco timeline. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 29). Health effects of cigarette smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from 

Lee, S. (n.d.). Tobacco control. Canadian Cancer Society. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from 

Mishra, S., & Mishra, M. B. (2013, January). Tobacco: Its historical, cultural, oral, and Periodontal Health Association. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from 

Quit tobacco: How to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2022, from 

Smokers with heart disease could gain five healthy years by quitting. European Society of Cardiology. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2022, from