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What are the dangers of smoking?

Smoking is harmful for almost every part of your body. Research shows that it can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Smoking can also cause lung diseases, like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And it increases your chances of getting certain eye diseases and immune system disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking can also lead to problems like erectile dysfunction, ectopic pregnancy, and early menopause.

Smoking isn’t just bad for the smoker — it hurts the people around them, too. Secondhand smoke (the smoke that gets in the air) can cause some of the same health problems for nonsmokers that smokers can have, like lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Kids who are regularly around secondhand smoke get sick more often, and are more likely to have breathing or lung problems like infections and severe asthma, as well as ear problems. Babies who are regularly around secondhand smoke are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

E-cigarettes have fewer chemicals that are bad for you than regular cigarettes, but they’re not totally safe. They still have some cancer-causing chemicals in them, and nicotine. Nicotine can hurt brain development in teens and young people into their early 20s. They’re also addictive, and over time can lead to you taking in more nicotine than you would if you smoked regular cigarettes.

What are the risks of smoking during pregnancy?

Smoking or using e-cigarettes when you’re pregnant can cause serious problems for your pregnancy, and the chemicals in tobacco smoke or e-cigarettes are very harmful to the fetus. Smokers have a harder time getting pregnant than non-smokers, and have a higher risk of complications like miscarriage, giving birth too early, or a low birth weight. Babies born to people who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have lung or breathing problems, as well as die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and you smoke, talk with your nurse or doctor about ways to help you quit so you can help you and your future baby be healthy.

How can I quit smoking tobacco?

There are many reasons to quit smoking. It’s hard, but you can do it. Lots of people have quit smoking successfully. Having a plan and a support system can help.

If you want to stop smoking, the first step is to make the decision to quit. Your nurse or doctor can help you figure out the best way for you to quit smoking. They may suggest things like nicotine replacement therapy (like a nicotine patch or nicotine gum), therapy, support groups, or medicines. Using more than one of these may be even more helpful. Your local health department may have free smoking cessation programs. You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get information about help available in your area, or visit smokefree.gov for more tips on how to stop smoking

Some people use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking cigarettes. While e-cigarettes are less bad for you than cigarettes, they’re not totally safe. If you’re using e-cigarettes, a doctor or nurse can help you figure out a good plan to help you quit so you can stay healthy.

What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

It’s never too late to quit smoking, and the sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll heal. Your body will start to get healthier right away, though some other benefits take a little more time. Within weeks, your risk for heart attack drops, and your lungs start to work better. It will be easier for you to breathe and be active. After 2-5 years, your risk for stroke becomes the same as a nonsmoker. Within 5 years, your risk for certain cancers goes down by half. If you have diabetes, you’ll be healthier right away and have more control over your blood sugar.