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Quitting smoking has a myriad of benefits for overall health. The risk of disease and death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as cancer, are all reduced by quitting smoking. Smoking cessation significantly reduces markers of inflammation and hypercoagulability, which leads to rapid improvement in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Furthermore, quitting smoking reduces respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sputum production and wheezing.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of coronary heart disease with risk falling sharply 1-2 years after cessation and then declining more slowly over the longer term. It also reduces the risk of disease and death from stroke with risk approaching that of never smokers after cessation. People already diagnosed with coronary heart disease also benefit from quitting smoking, reducing the risk of premature death, death from heart disease, and having a first or another heart attack. In addition, it may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, sudden cardiac death, heart failure, venous thromboembolism, and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing COPD. For those with COPD, it slows its progression and reduces lung function loss over time. Quitting also reduces respiratory symptoms such as cough, sputum production and wheezing, as well as respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. In addition, it improves lung function, reduces symptoms and improve treatment outcomes among persons with asthma.
Quitting smoking has a number of cancer-related benefits. It reduces the risk of twelve different types of cancer, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), bladder, lung, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, liver, mouth and throat (oral cavity and pharynx), pancreas, stomach and voice box (larynx). For cancer survivors who quit smoking after their diagnosis, it may improve prognosis and reduce the risk of premature death. Overall, quitting smoking is one of the most important actions to take in order to reduce cancer risk.