8 Ways Your Health Improves When You Quit Smoking

In 2020, the Surgeon General released a report on quitting smoking and was the first of its kind to show positive health effects of smoking cessation. It shows there is strong evidence about the improvements that come when you quit smoking. Read on to discover the top eight health benefits of quitting smoking, in no particular order. Your health will thank you.

1. Less Risk of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of men and women in the United States. By quitting smoking, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases. Now we can all take a deep breath.


2. Less Risk of Throat and Mouth Cancers

Smoking is one of the main causes of throat and mouth cancers. Quitting smoking is a great way to help keep your throat and mouth safe (with the added bonus of protecting your taste buds!).

open mouth

3. Less Risk of Cervical Cancer and Numerous Other Cancers

Quitting smoking can spare many body parts from cancer! The chance of getting cervical cancer goes down when you quit smoking – same for the liver, kidneys and colon.

female internal organs

4. Better Reproductive Health

Quitting smoking can even benefit two lives at once! Quitting improves the health of pregnant people and their babies. In fact, cutting out smoking is linked to healthier birth weights of babies.

woman and baby

5. Lower Cholesterol

Many people in the U.S. struggle with their cholesterol; cutting out smoking can help! Quitting improves HLD cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol because it helps remove the bad cholesterol from the blood stream) which lowers your risk of heart disease. As an added bonus, it helps keep your arteries safe – and that’s great protection for your heart and brain.

clogged artery

6. Lower Heart Attack Risk

About one in 20 adults already have the most common kind of heart disease – coronary artery disease. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of having a heart attack even if you already have coronary artery disease. You can make choices today that can save you tomorrow!

hands holding heart

7. Lower Risk of Stroke

Quitting smoking protects your brain by lowering the risk of stroke. People who quit can lower their risk of a stroke to a level similar to people who never smoked. It’s a great way to protect your brain and live a healthy life.

cartoon of a brain lifting weights

8. Better Lung Function

Fifteen percent of people who smoke get chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. This disease can make breathing difficult. Quitting smoking can preserve your lung function. Make a quit attempt today and breathe easier. Your lungs will thank you!

black man breathing in

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2020; pages 8-10.

Page last updated: January 19, 2024