Kicking the Habit

Kicking the Habit – How stopping smoking reduces your risk of cancer

Quit smoking to reduce your risk

Smoking is the leading cause of death in Ireland. If you are a smoker, speak to your doctor or pharmacist today for advice on how to quit. You can also call the National Smoker’s Quitline for free on 1800 201 203 or FREETEXT QUIT to 50100.

Benefits start after 20 minutes

Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your circulation will improve and your heart rate and blood pressure will get lower. This reduces your risk of heart attack immediately.

  • After 8 hours

Within 8 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop and the oxygen level will go up.

  • In 24-48 hours

Within 24-48 hours all the carbon monoxide will have left your body. Within a few days your sense of smell and taste will start to improve.

  • After 72 hours

After 72 hours your breathing will improve and your energy levels will increase.

  • After 2 weeks – 3 months 

After 2 weeks to 3 months withdrawal symptoms stop, circulation improves, lung function increases

  • After 1 year

After 1 year risk of heart disease halved

  • After 5 years

Risk of lung cancer reduced

  • Live longer

Every cigarette a person smokes reduces their life by five and a half minutes.

10 Tips to help you quit

1. Prepare to quit

Write down your reasons for quitting and keep them close at hand.

2. Make a date

Make a date to quit – And stick to it.

3. Get support

Ask your family and friends for support

4. Change your routine

Change your routine and plan ahead – replace or change activities that you associate with smoking.

5. Be active

Regular activity is good for your health and helps you to manage stress. It also helps to prevent cancer.

6. Think positive

You may have withdrawal symptoms. These are positive signs that your body is recovering from the harmful effects of smoking. They will disappear.

7. Learn to deal with cravings

Try distracting yourself, have some water or take some deep breaths.

8. Save money

Set aside money that you would otherwise spend on tobacco for a reward. Use the HSE’s savings calculator to find out just how much you can save.

9. Watch what you eat

If you are worried about putting on weight, be careful about what you eat.

10. Take one day at a time

Remember, every day without smoking is good news for: