Global Privacy Signal Detected
Skip to main content

10 Things You Get From Giving Up Tobacco

Quitting Tobacco: Good for Your Health and Your Life Insurance Policy

Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but quitting tobacco offers serious advantages for your health and wallet. For starters, quitting may add up to 10 years to your lifespan, as opposed to if you kept smoking.

Tobacco-free living provides lower costs for everyday healthcare maintenance. You also lower your risk of contracting several diseases — including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, and more. 

So, it makes sense that quitting tobacco also enables lower life insurance costs — the industry rates applicants based on tobacco use, among other factors. Some applicants may not qualify for life insurance at all if they’re dealing with serious health histories, or they may have to pay significantly higher insurance rates. 

Some people try to hide their tobacco use to avoid paying higher premiums, but that’s not as easy as you may think. Advanced analytics programs can now predict whether a life insurance applicant is hiding tobacco use. Additionally, insurance companies can require you to take a blood or urine test, both of which can reveal your tobacco use.

Instead of worrying about or hiding your smoking, consider these 10 advantages of kicking your tobacco habit.

1. Decreased Chance of Heart Disease 

Giving up tobacco reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease — diseases affecting your heart, arteries, blood veins, and capillaries. Cardiovascular disease causes over one-third of the 480,000 U.S. smoking-related deaths annually.

Inhalation of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to issues including:

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • Heart attack 
  • Aneurysms, or a bulge or weakness in an artery
  • Coronary heart disease, or the narrowing of blood vessels carrying blood to the heart

Quitting smoking starts earning almost immediate benefits, even if you already have heart disease. Your heart attack risk drops sharply within 1-2 years of quitting tobacco. Within 3-6 years of quitting, your added coronary heart disease risk drops by half.

2. Decreased Chance of Stroke 

Stroke is another disease of the cardiovascular system. A stroke occurs when the brain is damaged or dies due to a blocked blood supply or a burst blood vessel, leading to disability and death. Smoking can cause blood to be more likely to clot and increase narrowing, thickening, and plaque in blood vessels. Quitting reduces your stroke death risk within just 5-10 years. 

3. Decreased Chance of Pulmonary Disease 

Smoking causes lung disease by damaging the airways and the lungs, leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing, a tight chest, mucus, and what’s commonly known as a “smoker’s cough.” Smokers are 12-13 times more likely to die from COPD, compared to nonsmokers.

Quitting smoking slows the progression of COPD, even for those already diagnosed with the disease, and can also reduce respiratory symptoms such as coughing. 

For anyone who smokes now, quitting is the most critical first step for dealing with COPD. Then, secondary measures may include avoiding second-hand smoke, medications, supplemental oxygen, and respiratory therapy. 

4. Decreased Chance of Respiratory Infections 

Quitting tobacco could improve your immune response to infections, including flu, pneumonia, and other respiratory illnesses. Some evidence suggests that smoking is associated with increased disease severity and death for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Tobacco smoke can also trigger or worsen asthma attacks for those with asthma, whereas quitting can actually improve lung function.

5. Decreased Risk of Several Cancers 

Lungs act to filter toxins before they reach the body, and smoking clogs your filters with carbon dioxide and a host of poisonous chemicals. One in every three cancer deaths is linked to smoking. While smoking causes nearly all lung cancer, it can also lead to other cancers, including: 

  • Mouth, throat, and tonsil (oropharynx) cancer
  • Voice box (larynx) cancer 
  • Windpipe (trachea) cancer 
  • Airway (bronchus) cancer 

But tobacco use can also cause cancer elsewhere in your body, including your bladder, blood, liver, and stomach. 

Quitting smoking can lower cancer risks and improve your health right away. Within 12 hours of quitting, your blood’s carbon monoxide levels drop, enabling more oxygen to circulate to your organs. Larynx cancer risk is reduced immediately, too. Lung, mouth, and throat cancer risks fall by 50% within 5-10 years of quitting.

6. Improved Prognosis in Current Cancer Survivors 

Quitting smoking may improve outcomes and lessen the risk of premature death for people currently coping with cancer. For example, a 2021 study of 500+ early-stage lung cancer patients showed patients who stopped smoking lived almost two years longer than people who continued. Quitting smoking also slowed the progression of the disease.

7. Reduced Risk of Several Pregnancy Complications 

Quitting tobacco decreases several pregnancy risks and delivery complications due to reduced oxygen, specifically:

  • Ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg outside the uterus) 
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm (early) or premature delivery 
  • Low birth weight
  • Mouth and lip defects 
  • Abnormal lung and brain development, lasting through the teen years

Reduced risk depends heavily on when you stop smoking. Before pregnancy is best across the board, but it’s never too late to mitigate some risks by quitting:

  • Early in pregnancy: Reduces risk for low birth weight and premature delivery
  • During pregnancy: Reduces the chances of low birth weight and lessens your child’s risk of colds, asthma, and other infections

If you stop smoking, your baby gets more oxygen after just one day and can grow better. You also benefit from more energy and easier breathing. 

8. Improved Dental Health 

Tobacco (whether smoked or smokeless) can lead to problems with your oral health, too:

  • Stained teeth, gums, and mouth
  • Dulled smell and taste
  • Slowed healing time after dental interventions
  • Gum disease and recession

But, quitting makes a quick difference. Oral tissue’s discolored appearance can return to normal within weeks. Tobacco cessation will lower your risk of gum disease, as well.

9. Improved Overall Quality of Life

Over time, your quality of life can suffer from tobacco use. Cigarette smokers cope with more chronic diseases at an earlier stage than their similarly-aged peers, including high blood pressure, COPD, and overall poor physical health.

In addition, some quality of life measures span across the ages, including: 

  • An increased sense of taste and smell
  • More financial savings — cigarettes can cost upwards of $10/pack
  • The ability to be more physically active due to improved cardiovascular and lung function
  • Slowed aging without yellowed nails, more wrinkles, and tooth loss
  • Better sleep due to lack of snoring 
  • A lack of cravings in inconvenient situations 
  • The ability to protect the lungs of your loved ones from second-hand smoke

10. Improved Chance of Affordable Life Insurance Coverage and Premiums 

Smoking causes premature death — smokers die up to 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. If you quit smoking before age 40, you cut your risk of dying from a smoking-related disease by about 90%. These reduced death risks are rewarded with more affordable life insurance premiums if you haven’t used tobacco in the past 12 months. Smokers will pay, on average, 4-5 times more for their life insurance than non-smokers — and that’s if they can get approved for a policy at all.

All in all, quitting smoking raises your quality of life, lowers your risk of several health conditions, and saves you money on life insurance.

Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

Get a quote

Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

Get a quote