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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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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