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Smoking harm

Smoking harms your body in many ways. Smokers who do not quit have a 1 in 2 chance of dying of a smoking-related illness – most commonly lung cancer and other lung disease such as emphysema, heart disease and stroke.

  • Smoking causes the early death of about 4,700 New Zealanders each year.
  • Nearly half of those deaths occur in middle age (35-69 years).
  • About one-third of all Maori deaths are linked to tobacco use.
  • On average, smokers die 14 years earlier than non-smokers.

Every cigarette you smoke is harming nearly every organ and system in your body. More than 60 of the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause cancer.

Your lungs: Cigarette smoke damages the tiny hairs that help clean your lungs. Without these, toxins from cigarette smoke remain in the lungs, and can move to other organs via the bloodstream. Your lungs also become coated in tar. Smoking is the cause of over 80 percent of lung cancer in New Zealand.

Your skin: Smokers tend to get wrinkles sooner than non-smokers.

Your mouth: Smoking causes gum disease, oral cancer, loss of taste, stained teeth, mouth sores and bad breath.

Smoking also damages the health of those around you, your fertility and your unborn child, if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant, it’s vital for your baby's health that you stop smoking.

Your body begins to repair itself as soon as you quit smoking.

Quit for yourself, your whānau, your friends and your pocket. Improve not only your health but the health of your loved ones, and get more out of life.

Maybe you’ve tried to quit before and failed. If you are a smoker, it can take a couple of attempts to quit – but you can do it.