Kick the habit
There is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Studies show that smokers compensate for the lower nicotine of ‘low tar' cigarettes by taking deeper drags, thus maintaining the usual tar levels. Stopping – no matter how long you've smoked for or how frequently – has only benefits. Of course, it is better to stop as soon as possible. It takes on average 6-8 attempts before the habit is completely broken, so don't be discouraged if the first attempt fails. Many of the organizations in our directory offer tips and help to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
Time since quitting & Benefits
20 minutes - Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
8 hours - Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.
24 hours - Carbon monoxide eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
48 hours - No nicotine left in the body. Ability to taste and smell greatly improved.
72 hours - Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
2-12 weeks - Circulation improves.
3-9 months - Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases.
1 year - Risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
10 years - Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of smoker.
15 years - Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
Source: ASH UK
Web Extra: Read about Thami Maqhubela's struggle to quit at
ASH – Action on Smoking and Health
Each national organization is independent.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
International Network of Women Against Tobacco
International Union Against Cancer GLOBALink
Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals
Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
Non-Smokers’ Rights Association
Research for International Tobacco Control
Tobacco Control Supersite
Tobacco Free Initiative
Most smokers start in their teens. The health warnings can have a hard time getting through to young people for whom the risk of a heart attack or cancer years down the line can seem distant. When tobacco companies get into education, their efforts are generally useless – giving smoking the cachet of being a forbidden adult activity and making it more appealing to youngsters.
The ideal scenario would be if young people didn't have film stars or adults who smoked to emulate. But, failing that, an approach that exposes how tobacco companies manipulate young people has succeeded where others have not.
This is Florida’s ‘Truth Campaign’ (
31 May - World No Tobacco Day
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