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Smoking Cessation

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide. High rates of smoking behaviour amongst Indigenous people pose a risk to both personal and community health, as well as to culture. Smoking cessation is an assured way to improve overall well-being and promote a healthy lifespan, regardless of the duration or frequency of tobacco use before quitting.  

Choosing a smoke-free life may be challenging, but it is one of the most impactful health decisions you can make.

Health Risks of Smoking

Exposure to cigarette smoke, either through direct use or secondhand, can take a significant toll on your health. When a cigarette is burned, it creates over 7,000 chemicals. More than 70 of those chemicals are known to cause or promote cancer, called carcinogens.

Smoking increases your risk for:

  • Cardiovascular disease, which involves damage to the heart and blood vessels. Smoking raises your risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other heart-related health concerns such as high blood pressure.

  • Respiratory disease, which involves damage to the airways and lungs. Respiratory disease makes it harder for your lungs to work properly, leading to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

  • Certain cancers, including cancer of the lungs, liver and colon. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for approximately 85% of lung cancer cases worldwide.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes, increased risk of infections, and reproductive health issues, such as preterm births, stillbirth and infertility.

Benefits of Quitting

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and overall quality of life. Stopping tobacco use has benefits at any age, no matter how long or how much you have smoked, and some of those health benefits occur almost immediately after putting out your last cigarette.

Your body will heal over time after quitting:

  • In as little as 20 minutes after quitting smoking, heart rate will return to normal and blood pressure starts to drop.

  • After 12 hours without a cigarette, carbon monoxide levels in the blood will return to normal. Carbon monoxide is a gas present in cigarette smoke that can be harmful or even fatal in high doses because it prevents oxygen from entering the blood and spreading through the body. As carbon monoxide levels return to normal, oxygen levels rise, making breathing easier.

  • After 24 hours, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

  • After 48 hours, your sense of taste and smell improves.

  • In as little as 1 month after quitting smoking, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. The natural cleaning system in your lungs regains regular function, which helps clear mucus from the lungs and reduces the risk of infection.

  • After 1 year without a cigarette, your risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease is half that of a person who smokes.

  • After 5 years, your risk of certain cancers is reduced by half, including mouth, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer. The risk of cervical cancer returns to that of someone who does not smoke.

  • After 10 years, your risk of developing and dying from lung cancer is reduced to about half that of a person who smokes.

  • After 15 years, your risk of heart attack and stroke is the same as someone who never smoked.

There are many other advantages to smoking cessation, including social and lifestyle benefits. The sooner you quit, the more you'll benefit.

Nicotine Addiction

While quitting "cold turkey" may work for some people who use tobacco, smoking cessation is often a lot more challenging than simply deciding to quit. Quitting smoking means breaking the cycle of addiction and rewiring the brain to stop craving nicotine.

Nicotine is a chemical found naturally in tobacco. When you smoke, nicotine causes your brain to release a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which creates a temporary feeling of pleasure. Over time, your body becomes tolerant to this effect and more frequent tobacco use is required to get the same outcome.

Nicotine is highly addictive and even infrequent use can lead to dependence, where your body relies on nicotine just to feel normal.

When you quit smoking, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, fatigue and craving. It takes time for the body to adjust to being nicotine-free. These symptoms generally dissipate within a few weeks of quitting, and you'll start to feel better - both physically and mentally.

Get Support

Having support while you quit smoking can help you succeed. Your healthcare provider, friends, family and coworkers can encourage you and hold you accountable as you work towards your goal of being smoke-free.

Tell your friends, family or coworkers that you are quitting smoking and invite those who use tobacco to quit with you. If your friends are not ready or willing to quit with you, ask them not to smoke around you or offer you tobacco products.

Healthcare professionals and smoking cessation organizations can also help you quit tobacco use. Virtual resources, such as TalkTobacco, can provide encouragement and informational resources to help you quit. Your doctor may suggest medication to help you quit or provide guidance on which type of nicotine replacement therapy might work best for you.

Support comes in many forms. You don't have to quit alone.


Contact Us

Schedule an appointment with our Primary Care Clinic: 705-269-6662.

Smoking Cessation Info Resource
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