For a smoker, the single most important thing they can do for their health is quit smoking. In fact, benefits are almost immediate. Within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse decrease, and within 48 hours your sense of taste and smell improve. After one year, your risk of heart disease decreases significantly, and after 10 years your risk of lung cancer decreases significantly as well.
Tobacco has many toxic substances. The substance most detrimental to your health is tar, which is carcinogenic. We have all heard that tobacco smoke cause lung cancer, but it is also associated with cancers of the mouth and throat. In addition, According to the American Heart Association, tobacco smoke is one of the key risk factors of heart disease. When you smoke you lower your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and tendency for blood to clot increases.
There are many tools these days to help you quit for good. Nicotine gum works for some, but if that does not work there are prescription drugs to help control cravings. Additionally, the CDC has a web page dedicated to quitting (click here to access CDC page). The important thing is to know is that cigarettes should have no place in your future if you wish to remain healthy.