One of the best things you can do for the health of your body is to quit smoking. It’s not easy and more than half of all smokers have tried quitting in the past five years. Smoking does not only affect your performance, it can lead to some serious health issues later in life.
This section explains what smoking can do to your body and gives you a starting point to help you quit smoking.
The impact of smoking
Smoking and breathing second-hand smoke causes about 5,000 deaths every year. That’s more than from drowning, suicide and motor vehicle accidents combined!
About two-thirds of smokers who continue smoking will eventually be killed by tobacco. Long-term smokers will die an average of 10 to 15 years early because of smoking
The odds are, if you smoke you will be affected by it in some way:
- Smoking is a major cause of blindness
- Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), stomach and bladder
- Smoking increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract
- 40% of all strokes in people aged under 65 years are caused by smoking
- 40% of heart disease in those under 65 is caused by smoking
- Smokers have two-to-three times the risk of having a sudden cardiac death (when the heart suddenly stops beating) than non-smokers
- If you are pregnant, inhaled smoke is a poison that enters your bloodstream and passes through the placenta to the baby affecting your baby’s health
There are also other reasons to quit:
- Quit for your family (children with smoking parents are up to six times more likely to start smoking, and second-hand smoke kills someone every day)
- The health benefits of quitting kick in very soon after your last cigarette, and providing you stay off them you can look forward to a longer life (after one year smoke free your risk of heart failure drops by half)
- Quit for your budget. Someone who smokes half a pack a day can save $70 a week by giving up. Check out how much smoking costs you here(external link)
Quitting smoking is not easy – but don’t give up hope
It’s not easy to quit and most people aren’t successful the first time. But that doesn’t mean they’ve failed.
It’s just the first step in their quit journey – the important thing is to keep trying, and try different things.
Most people find quitting with a buddy, and having friends and family supporting them provide the best opportunity for success. Smoking cessation or nicotine replacement therapy may help too but you need to discuss these options with a medical professional.
What can I do about it?
If you want help to quit at work, contact your Defence Health Centre, or Occupational Health Nurse.
Alternatively you can:
- Contact Quitline through www.quit.org.nz, a website that also gives you heaps of other reasons to quit, or by phoning 0800 778 778 for a Quit pack and support over the phone, online and by text
- Find information and local help(external link) in your region to stop smoking with Smokefree.org.nz
- Or for those that would prefer it, phone apps such as Goal Post (www.goalpost.it) can help.