If you’re a smoker, you’ve likely tried more than once in your smoking career to give up the habit for good. Unfortunately, for most smokers, it’s simply not that easy. Nicotine addiction can cause relapses, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and keep you coming back to cigarettes for the fix your brain learns to crave. 

Smoking destroys nearly 500,00 lives in the US per year, and claims another 7.5 million worldwide. As if that isn’t enough, the financial and environmental impacts of the tobacco industry are piling up, leading many to wonder why anyone still smokes at all. 

Are you ready to quit? Here are the reasons why you should quit today. 

Decreased Risk Factors

The minute you quit smoking, your risk factor for some pretty nasty health complications drops almost immediately. Just a few cigarettes per week can increase your risk for cancer, stroke, heart attack, heart and lung disease, and cancer. Putting down the cigarettes begins the healing process and reduces the risk of experiencing these complications. 

Heart disease is actually the number one killer of adults in the  US, and smoking plays a significant role in the development of the disease. While not all smokers develop heart disease, it’s certainly one of the more alarming risk factors of the habit. 

About one out of every five deaths from heart disease can be connected to smoking. That’s 20% of heart disease patients; a truly startling number. Cigarettes effectively raise blood pressure, cause blood to thicken (increasing the risk of clots), reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to cardiac tissue, and fills your bloodstream with toxic chemicals. This is all very damaging to the heart, and while the organ itself is quite resilient, it can’t handle the damage of years of smoking. 

If there was ever a better reason to stop, it’s to protect your heart. Heart surgery is both costly and risky, and poor heart function means you may be unable to enjoy certain aspects of life. Even your sex life can be damaged by smoking; causing infertility in both men and women and erectile dysfunction in men. 

Immediate Recovery

Within just a few hours of smoking your last cigarette, your body will begin to heal itself. Your circulation is the first thing to improve since smoking constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Your heart rate and pressure will drop, relieving the immense pressure on your cardiac muscles and blood vessels. 

You’ll also experience a significant drop in the level of carbon monoxide in your blood, which means thinner blood, better circulation, and more efficient delivery of oxygen to tissues and organs via red blood cells. 

After about a day of not smoking, you’ll probably notice improved lung function. The lungs begin the healing process almost immediately, and, in most cases, can heal almost entirely given enough time. 

Cravings can persist for months after quitting, so it’s important to have a plan in place to battle them as they come. Don’t beat yourself up if you relapse; simply get up try again, and believe that you can quit once and for all. 

Be sure to take advantage of the thousands of online resources available, including support groups, apps, and online forums for smokers. 

There Are Alternatives

If you enjoy the buzz that nicotine gives you, there are plenty of alternative options available so you’re not exposed to the harsh chemicals in cigarettes. Tobacco-free pouches from Black Buffalo can get you the nicotine you crave without the use of tobacco. Reducing your dependency on tobacco is important not only to your health, but also your wallet! 

There are also e-cigarettes available that contain nicotine but no tobacco. Or, if you want to ditch tobacco and nicotine altogether, you can try vaping CBD or taking capsules. 

A Public Health Crisis 

Smoking is in decline, but it still remains a significant public health crisis. When we smoke, we’re contributing to a larger problem and placing a burden on the public healthcare system. Not to mention, second-hand smoke is still deadly, and smokers are exposing others to the harmful effects of their habits. 

Addressing the smoking epidemic starts with exposing big tobacco for what it is: an industry that values profits over human lives. Billions in advertising and lobbying costs keep big tobacco in business, pushing their products to people all over the world and shining a better light on smoking/tobacco use in general. They’ve even gone as far as to create a non-combustible tobacco alternative in an attempt to look like they’re trying to help solve the smoking problem. 

Luckily, the facts about smoking speak for themselves. It’s a dangerous, addictive, and destructive habit. With so many alternatives available, resources to take advantage of, and unlimited information available on the web, there’s no reason why today shouldn’t be the day you finally leave tobacco behind for good.