Tips for quitting smoking

Give up smoking and you’ll feel better, reduce your health risks and save money.

By Donna Fleming


Chemicals from cigarettes gather in the hair and can cause strands to become brittle. And smokers tend to go bald or grey sooner than nonsmokers.


Chemicals in cigarette smoke, such as carbon monoxide, make the skin’s elastic fibres more likely to snap, causing the skin to lose elasticity, so smokers tend to have more wrinkles. They can end up with a grey pallor not only because of the chemicals, but also because puffing away depletes nutrients such as vitamin C, which are needed to repair skin damage. Smoking also weakens blood flow to the skin, increasing the risk of infections that lead to spots, and increases your chances of developing psoriasis.


It also increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage.


Nicotine stains your teeth and is associated with tooth loss. Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop gum disease, which can lead to teeth falling out.They are also four times more likely to get oral cancer.

Facial hair

Cigarettes decrease female hormone levels, leaving women more prone to facial hair.


There is a link between smoking and decreased bone density. The bad habit is one of a number of factors that play a part in losing bone mass, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.


Tobacco changes the blood’s chemistry. It leads to raised blood pressure, which can make you more prone to a heart attack or stroke, and can cause clots, which can be fatal.


The chemicals in tobacco affects heart function. Smokers have a greater chance of developing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease or having an aneurysm, stroke or heart attack.


As well as increasing your risk of lung cancer, cigarettes damage the lungs and make breathing more difficult. It can result in chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia.


Nicotine weakens the stomach’s ability to fight the bacteria that cause peptic ulcers. Smoking can suppress appetites, but smokers tend to have more visceral (internal) fat than nonsmokers.

Reproductive organs

Women who smoke have lower levels of oestrogen and tend to have irregular periods and take longer to conceive. It also increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Men often have lower sperm counts.


Cigarette smoke stops the bacteria that protect against infection from doing their job properly, so you’re more susceptible to vaginal infections. Genital warts are sexually transmitted, but smokers are four times more likely than nonsmokers to have them. You may lose interest in sex as smoking depletes oestrogen. Males risk impotence.

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