Within 48 hours of stopping smoking your ability to taste and smell improves. For your tastebuds, it’s like switching from black and white to technicolour.
Every day, New Zealanders are quitting smoking to enjoy these benefits. Nobody will pretend quitting cigarettes is easy. But, if you are thinking about quitting, and you feel the time is right for you to make the change from being a smoker to a non-smoker, then there is a lot of support available to help you.
Ask yourself why you are smoking
Try to answer these questions about your smoking:
- What do you like about smoking?
- What triggers cause you to want to smoke?
- What stops you from quitting smoking?
- What could you do instead when you want to smoke?
- Who could help you to stop smoking?
Many New Zealanders who quit smoking do it for their health, their families’ health and to save a chunk of money. It is beneficial to stop smoking at any age.
Understand the health impacts of smoking
Smoking harms your body in many ways. Smokers who do not quit have a 1 in 2 chance of dying of a smoking-related illness – most commonly lung cancer and other lung disease such as emphysema, heart disease and stroke.
- Smoking causes 1 in 4 in four cancer deaths in New Zealand.
- It is a major cause of blindness, with about 1,300 people in New Zealand having untreatable blindness due to current and past smoking.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing cancers of your lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), stomach and bladder.
- Smoking increases the risk of developing diseases of your urinary tract, pelvis, bladder and digestive tract.
- About 40% of all strokes in people aged under 65 years are caused by smoking.
- About 40% of heart disease in those under 65 is caused by smoking.
- Smokers have 2–3 times the risk of having a sudden cardiac death (when your heart suddenly stops beating) than non-smokers.
- Smoking causes the premature (early) death of about 4,700 New Zealanders each year.
- Nearly half of those deaths occur in middle age (35–69 years).
- About one-third of all Māori deaths are linked to tobacco use.
- On average, smokers die 14 years earlier than non-smokers.
Smoking also damages the health of those around you, your fertility and your unborn child if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant, it is vital for your baby's health that you stop smoking.
Use the interactive tool What is smoking doing to your body? developed by Smokefree Aotearoa NZ to learn how smoking damages your health and the health of your whānau.
Realise the financial benefits of quitting
Fancy a pay rise? An average packet of cigarettes now costs more than $20. If you smoke a pack a day then you will spend more than $9,200 a year on cigarettes.
Work out how much you could save each year by not smoking by using the smoking cost calculator.
Overcome the excuses
We can all come up with excuses and reasons why we can’t make lifestyle changes like quitting smoking. More often than not these reasons are unfounded, and dispelling them can be a helpful step in kicking the smoking habit.
If you are a smoker, it can take a couple of attempts to quit – but you can do it. Help is just a phone call away. Call the Quitline 0800 778 778
Smoking Fresh Mind, NZ
Why quit smoking Quitline, NZ
Seven common excuses people have about quitting smoking and how to overcome them NHS, UK
Smoking information sheet Heart Foundation, NZ
- How smoking harms and kills us Smokefree NZ