What's the harm in smoking?

Tobacco smoking harms almost every organ in your body. It is a leading cause of death and illness in NSW resulting in around 6,850 deaths and 60,250 hospitalisations in 2017-18. Smoking is a major risk factor for many diseases and health conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease,  and many cancers.

One in every two smokers will die early as a result of being a smoker. Many long term smokers will die in middle age due to smoking related illnesses.

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, resources 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

Page Updated: Friday 16 August 2019
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health