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Five reasons why you should quit smoking

January 11, 2012

Smoking can be a hard habit break, especially for those who’ve been at it for a while. While cigarettes may at times seem like your best friend – they also can also cause serious health problems.

Unfortunately, warnings against health risks aren’t always enough to deter someone from buying another pack of cigarettes. Sometimes people need a bit of an incentive, and there’s a few different organizations that are trying some cool tricks to try and get people to give it up for good.

The Manitoba Lung Association has started up a new contest with a breakup theme called “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”, where users who are serious about quitting can pen a breakup letter on the organizations Facebook page for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the retail outlet of their choice. In Ontario, the provincial government has teamed up with The Canadian Cancer Society to give away a car and cash prizes to smokers who register and stay smoke-free until March as part of their Driven to Quit contest.

In honour of national Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 15-21), here is a list of five reasons why you should consider kicking the habit to the curb.

1. Live Longer
Smoking cuts years off your life, and according to a 50-year British study, you’ll increase your lifespan more the earlier you quit. Becoming a non-smoker at age 30 can add upwards of 10 years to your life, while you may only ad 3-5 years if you quit in your 50’s or 60’s.

2. Save Cash
The cost of cigarettes is consistently going up, with an average pack setting you back upwards of $10 – with some users purchasing multiple packs per week. Even if you only smoke one pack of cigarettes per week, you’re still throwing away more than $500 per year that could have been better spent on something else. With the money that the average person spends per year on smoking, you could take a trip, or even afford a new car. Want to know how much you’re spending on cigarettes? Try out this handy online calculator from Health.com.

3. Look Better
While some people might think that smoking looks cool in the movies, in actuality it does nothing but bad things for your physical appearance. Yellow teeth and fingernails from nicotine stains are only the beginning,  because smoking has also been linked to causing an increase in bad skin and wrinkles.

4. Be More Active
Many of us can walk up one flight of stairs without getting winded, but that might be hard to do if you’re a smoker. Smoking damages our lungs, which can hinder our physical performance. Smoking may limit your ability to play sports, exercise – leaving the door open for problems like weight gain, and obesity.

5. Stay Healthy
It’s no secret that long-term smoking can lead to several different life-threatening conditions and illnesses like cancer, heart disease and stroke. But smoking can negatively affect other areas of your health, too. Men and women who smoke can experience sexual health and fertility problems, and cigarettes can also weaken your immune system, lead to gum disease, and can also be deadly if you have other health problems like diabetes. For a full list of all the health risks associated with smoking, visit Health Canada, or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thinking about quitting smoking? The Canadian Lung Association, Help Guide, and Quit4life are all great resources with information about how you can kick the habit, or where to seek help. Have you successfully quit smoking before? If so, do you have any tips for others who are trying to kick the habit?

Submitted by Hayley Brigg, Creative Communications student