Pros & Cons of Quitting Smoking

To enhance motivation to quit smoking, each person should try to identify their own personal pros and cons of smoking and quitting. The following are some examples to get you started.


The Pros

• eases tension
• improves concentration
• controls appetite
• enhances pleasure, relaxation
• provides social interaction

The Cons

Immediate and Long-termSmoking Last Cigarette
• shortness of breath • heart attacks and stroke
• worsening asthma • lung and other cancers
• pregnancy-related risks • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• infertility • peripheral vascular disease
• impotence


• increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease in family members
• greater rates of smoking in children of smokers
• higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, middle ear infections
and respiratory infections in children of smokers
• increased fire hazards

Quitting Smoking

The Pros

• enhanced sense of taste and smell
• money saved
• improved quality of life
• enhanced performance in sports/leisure activities
• better smelling home, car, breath and clothes
• setting good example for children
• healthy infants and children
• freedom from addiction

The Cons

• withdrawal symptoms
• grief reaction
• loss of a close friend
• boredom
• missing the break that smoking provides
• losing friends that smoke
• loss of enjoyment of smoking-related activities
• weight gain

• The risk of sudden cardiac death
in smokers reduces significantly
as soon as they quit smoking.

This is mainly due to the decrease
in carbon monoxide and

• Smoking cessation increases life
expectancy. People who quit
smoking before age 50 have 50%
less risk of dying in the next
15 years compared with
continuing smokers.

• Benefits of cessation extend to
quitting at older ages. A healthy
man aged 60 to 64 smoking a
pack of cigarettes or more a day
reduces by 10% the risk of dying
during the next 15 years if he
quits smoking.

• After 10 years of abstinence, the
risk of lung cancer is about 30%
to 50% of the risk for continuing
smokers. This risk continues to
decline with further abstinence.

• Smoking cessation reduces the
risk of cancers of the larynx, oral
cavity, esophagus, pancreas and
urinary bladder. In some cases
(including cervical and bladder
cancers), this risk reduction
occurs in the first few years after

• The excess risk of coronary heart
disease (CHD) from smoking is
reduced by 50% after one year of
abstinence and then declines
gradually. After 15 years of abstinence,
the risk of CHD is similar
to that for people who have
never smoked.

• Within five to 15 years of abstinence,
the risk of stroke returns
to the level of people who have
never smoked.