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Health Information for the Public

What Pedro Learned About Smoking

Why quit smoking?

To improve your family's well-being:

  • Enjoy a longer and healthier life with your children and grandchildren.
  • Breathe easier and cough less.
  • Have more energy.
  • Save money that would be spent on cigarettes.
  • Set a good example for your children.

To look and smell better:

  • Get rid of bad breath.
  • Have fresh-smelling clothes and hair.
  • Lose yellow stain on teeth and fingers.
  • Prevent wrinkles.

How does smoking affect your health?

Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemicals, and many of them are poisonous. The poisonous chemicals in cigarettes can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease

How does smoking affect the health of your loved ones?

Children exposed to cigarette smoke may have more:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections

Family members exposed to cigarette smoke may develop:

  • Heart and lung problems
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances that your baby will be born sick.

What should you expect when you quit smoking?

Nicotine is a powerful drug that causes addiction. Your body gets used to the nicotine in cigarettes. When you stop smoking, getting rid of the nicotine in your body can make you feel sick.

Tell your doctor that you are trying to quit smoking. There are medicines that can help you feel better.

How does it feel when you begin to quit smoking?

Some people may have headaches and feel cranky and tired. This happens when the body tries to get rid of the nicotine.

The good news is:

  • Most symptoms go away in about 4 weeks.
  • Quitting smoking is not easy, but many people are able to quit for good.
  • If you smoke again, quit again. It may take many attempts to stay off cigarettes.

Follow Pedro's example to quit smoking for good.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6356
June 2008

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