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Your health matters

The health benefits from stop smoking is always a good thing-your health will begin to improve from the moment you decide to quit. You will notice the changes and so will everyone else.

Immediately after quitting your body will start to repair itself. When you stop smoking at any age, your life expectancy will increase and your quality of life improves.

Health effects

  • Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and pancreas. Smoking also increases the risk of developing diseases of the urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract.
  • Smoking causes one in four of all cancer deaths in New Zealand.
  • People who smoke inhale more than 4,000 chemicals including acetone (paint stripper), ammonia (toilet cleaner), cyanide (rat killer), DDT (insecticide) and carbon monoxide (car exhaust fumes).
  • Smoking is a major cause of blindness, with about 1,300 people in New Zealand having untreatable blindness due to current and past smoking.
  • It is estimated that many deaths due to various diseases could be prevented if smoking was eliminated, including:
    • 68% of female deaths and 82% of male deaths due to lung cancer
    • 65% of female deaths and 79% of male deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • 11% of female deaths and 18% of male deaths due to heart disease
    • 8% of female deaths and 15% of male deaths due to stroke.
  • Adults who have never smoked and who live with smokers have a 15% higher risk of death than those living in a smokefree household.

The Ministry of Health's website includes a lot of information on the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke on the human body.

The Quitline's website has an interactive tool, developed by Quit Victoria in Australia, that shows how smoking can affect your body.

The Cancer Society provides a history and overview of the link between tobacco and cancer, with links to further information.

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