Smoking Facts

Bad news about smoking

  • Smoking and second-hand smoke cause over 430,000 preventable deaths each year.
  • Cigarettes and cigarette smoke contain more than 4,000 harmful ingredients. Many of these cause cancer.
  • Cigarette smoke ruins clothing, furniture, and car seats, as well as family and social relationships.
  • Cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke cause:
      • Shortness of breath
      • Decreased energy
      • Bone loss
      • Damage to blood vessels
      • Lung cancer and other types of cancers
      • High blood pressure
      • Digestive disorders
      • Diabetes complications
      • Chronic lung diseases
      • Heart disease
      • Poor circulation
  • Cigarettes are costly, at about $6 per pack.
  • Smoking-related diseases generate more than $50 billion a year in medical costs.
  • Lost wages and lost productivity from smoking-related diseases cost another $50 billion a year.
  • Smoking during pregnancy puts babies at risk for low birth weight, premature death, and sudden infant death syndrome, as well as for learning disabilities.
  • Asthma, bronchitis, and respiratory and ear infections increase in children of smokers.
  • More than 6,200 children die each year from infections and burns because of parents who smoke.
  • Cigarette smoking is a major cause of fire-related deaths.
  • Matches and lighters are a major cause of house fires.
  • Each day, more than 5,000 children try smoking, and 3,000 become hooked.

Good news about quitting smoking

Immediately after your last cigarette:

  • No more burns in your clothes, furniture, and car.
  • Your body’s healing processes begin.

20 minutes after your last cigarette:

  • Your blood pressure lowers.
  • Your hands and feet warm up.

8 hours after your last cigarette:

  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.

24 hours after your last cigarette:

  • Your heart attack risk decreases.
  • You are less short of breath.
  • You save money ($6 per pack).

3 days after your last cigarette:

  • Your family and friends are happier.
  • Your senses of taste and smell improve.
  • Your skin begins to look and feel better.
  • You have increased energy.

About 1 week after your last cigarette:

  • Your mood improves.
  • You are less irritable.

2 weeks after your last cigarette:

  • Your circulation improves.
  • Your lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after your last cigarette:

  • Smoker’s cough decreases.
  • Your lungs’ cleansing function returns to normal.
  • Your risk for infection decreases.

1 year after your last cigarette:

  • Your heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.
  • You’ve saved $2,190 or more from not buying cigarettes.
  • Freedom! You’re not a slave to smoking any longer.

5 to 15 years after quitting:

  • Your stroke risk is equal to that of a non-smoker.

10 years after quitting:

  • Your lung cancer risk is half that o a smoker.
  • Your risk of cancer decreases (including cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, etc.).

15 years after quitting:

  • Your risk of heart disease is equal to that of a non-smoker.

If you want help to stop smoking

  • Classes may be available in your community. Call 1-800-533-UPMC
    (8762) to find out more. If you are an inpatient at a UPMC hospital:
      • Ask your nurse if the hospital has the UPMC patient education TV channel, which features a video about quitting smoking.
      • Ask to talk one-on-one with a smoking cessation counselor.
  • Under the Smoking category, Patient Education, is Journey to a Smoke-Free Life, a 42-page guide that can help you devise a successful strategy to quit smoking, as well as other materials about the dangers of smoking and other health topics. You can print out any or all of these materials.
  • Additional resources are available from the toll-free Pennsylvania Department of Health Quit Line. Call 1-877-724-1090.

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