New
Welcome to Health’s new website. Learn more about it. This is still a work in progress, so please let us know what you think.
Welcome to Health’s new website. Learn more about it.

Why quit smoking?

There are lots of benefits to giving up smoking. Your health starts to improve almost straight away and you reduce your risk of developing many diseases. You will no longer affect those around you with your second-hand smoke and you'll also save money.

What's your motivation

Choosing your why can help keep you going when things get tough. People have different reasons for quitting smoking — here are some common ones, but you may have others. Think about which ones work for you.

Improve your health

Smoking is the main cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. Every cigarette you don't smoke is doing you good — you'll feel better and also reduce your risk of developing many diseases.

Benefit almost straight away

You will feel the benefits of quitting almost straight away as your body repairs itself. Depending on how much you smoked, you should start seeing benefits in a week.

The first month

  • In 12 hours excess carbon monoxide is out of your blood
  • In 5 days most nicotine is out of your body
  • In 1 week your sense of taste and smell improves
  • In 1 month your skin appearance is likely to improve

The first year

  • In 2 months your lungs will no longer be producing extra phlegm caused by smoking
  • In 3 months your lung function and blood flow improves
  • In 12 months your risk of heart disease has halved

Longer term benefits

  • In 5 years your risk of a stroke has dramatically decreased
  • In 10 years your risk of lung cancer is less than half that of a continuing smoker and continues to fall
  • In 15 years your risk of heart attack and stroke is almost the same as that of a person who has never smoked

When you quit smoking your overall health will improve.

Reduce your health risks

It is never too late to quit. Quitting smoking is the best thing most smokers can do to improve and protect their health.

You can reverse some harm to your body:

  • Lung damage
    Cilia are small hairlike projections from certain cells that remove mucus and dirt out of the lungs. If they have been paralysed (but not destroyed), they can recover. Chest and lung conditions which are made worse by smoking, such as asthma and chest infections, can also improve.
  • Cancer
    The risk of developing most cancers will generally decrease after quitting smoking completely. While quitting at any age has benefits, the earlier you quit the lower your risk of developing smoking-related cancers.
  • Eye damage
    For most people, the damage that smoking causes to the eyes can’t be reversed. It’s hard to say when damage occurs, but it appears to happen over many years.
  • Damage to your teeth
    Quitting smoking will improve your general dental health. Quitting smoking can also benefit tooth retention, however it may take decades for the rate of tooth loss to return to the same as a non-smoker.

You're pregnant or trying to fall pregnant

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for the health of both you and your baby.

Smoking can make it harder to fall pregnant naturally and also affects the success of fertility treatments. If you're already pregnant, smoking can affect the development of your baby and increase the risk of serious health issues after birth. It also increases the risk of complications with your pregnancy.

Find out more about smoking and pregnancy.

Help your friends, family and the environment

When you smoke it affects those around you, as well as the environment. Quitting improves the health of those around you by reducing their passive smoking. This can make a big difference for your children if you smoke in your home. Find out how passive smoking affects children.

Other benefits include:

  • not having to leave the restaurant to have a smoke, or stand outside your work building
  • less cigarette stubs littering the streets
  • cleaner air

Have more money

If you smoke a pack a day, you can save over $9,000 in a year if you quit smoking. Use the Quit HQ calculator to see how much you could save.

With all the money you're saving, work out how much you could spend on things you enjoy.

Write it down

Make a note of your reasons — you'll need them later when you work out your quit plan.

Next step

Understand what quitting feels like.

Last updated: 
9 April 2019

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.