What's the harm in smoking?

Tobacco smoking harms almost every organ in your body. It is a major risk factor for many diseases and health conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and many cancers. Smoking is a leading cause of death and illness in NSW resulting in around 6,700 deaths in 2018-19 and 62,930 hospitalisations in 2018-19.

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Quitting has many benefits

The good news is that most smokers want to quit smoking so they can enjoy the benefits to their health that come from quitting. These benefits start straight away so that after only a few weeks without smoking your risk of heart attack begins to reduce and your lung function improves making breathing and exercise easier.

Quitting at any age is worth doing and will increase your life expectancy and improve your quality of life.

If you are a parent, quitting will also benefit the health of your children. A smoke-free home and car protects children from ‘second-hand smoke’ and lowers their risk of many disorders such as ear infections, asthma and allergies.

Quitting prior to surgery will help you to heal quicker with less complications. If you are planning to undergo a surgical procedure in a NSW public hospital, it is wise to plan a quit attempt at least four to six weeks before the surgery to achieve the best possible surgical outcomes and to be prepared for the hospital’s smoke-free environment. If you continue to smoke up until the surgery there is a greater risk of poor wound healing and developing a wound infection.

What's the next step?

NSW Health and its partner agencies have a range of policies and programs to help you quit smoking and stay quit. These include:

 Benefits of quitting smoking

Want to know more?

Download the fact sheet Benefits of quitting smoking

Current as at: Monday 14 December 2020
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health