Healthy living

Facts about giving up smoking

Below are 17 facts that show you why quitting is the right choice.

Fact 1

Twelve hours after stopping, almost all nicotine is out of your system. In about 5 days, most nicotine by-products have gone.

Fact 2

Quitting smoking at any age will result in major and immediate health benefits. This applies to people with and without diseases caused by smoking.

Fact 3

Within a day of quitting, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped dramatically. Your body can take up and use oxygen more easily.

Fact 4

Quitting reduces your risk of stroke and heart attack. This is especially important for women who smoke and take the contraceptive pill: their risk of death from heart attack increases dramatically with age.

Fact 5

After quitting, your sense of taste and smell begin to improve. Your breath, hair and clothes will smell fresher.

Fact 6

After 4 weeks without smoking, exercising will be easier because more air is getting into your lungs.

Fact 7

Most smokers want to quit. Research shows that more than 75 per cent of smokers have made at least 1 attempt to quit.

Fact 8

Even though withdrawal symptoms can be hard to go through, remember they are actually a good sign. They show your body is adjusting to being free from the chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Fact 9

Within 4 to 6 days of quitting, your cilia (the hair-like cleaning system in your lungs) begin to recover and remove the mucus in your lungs so that you can cough it up. The mucus may be brown from tar.

Fact 10

Quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer if you do not already have the disease. After 10 years, the risk is halved.

Fact 11

All States and Territories have legislated for restaurants and cafés to be smoke free. In many States and Territories there are smokefree areas in licensed premises as well. Remember to ask.

Fact 12

There are now more Australians who have quit smoking than there are Australians who smoke.

Fact 13

Within 2 months of quitting, the blood flow to your hands and feet improves.

Fact 14

After 8 weeks without smoking, your immune system improves.

Fact 15

In the long term, the average weight of ex-smokers is similar to people who have never smoked.

Fact 16

Smoking rates among both men and women are going down.

Rates for men have almost halved in 50 years; 79 per cent of adults aged 14 and older do not smoke.

Fact 17

After 12 months of not smoking, your increased risk of heart disease is down to almost half that of a smoker’s.

Fifteen years after stopping smoking, your risk is almost the same as for a non-smoker.

Where to get help


Quitline is a confidential telephone support service staffed by professional advisors who are trained to provide encouragement and support to help you quit.

Phone: 13 7848 (13 QUIT) (local call rates from land line only). Advisors are available from:
  • Monday to Friday 6am – 7pm
  • Saturday 11.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Sunday closed.


  • Quitting reduces your risk of stroke, lung cancer and heart attack.
  • Not all people who quit smoking put on weight.
  • Withdrawal symptoms are a positive sign your body is adjusting to being free from tobacco chemicals.
  • 8 weeks after quitting your immune system improves.


Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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