Quitting Smoking: Saving Looks, Costs and Lives

Recent research shows just how much quitting smoking can save you.

If you’ve ever smoked cigarettes, you probably calculated how much you’d save after cutting out a weekly pack (easily $300 a year). Imagine that on a larger scale. Currently, about one in every five American adults is a smoker. If the rate dropped to 4.9 percent, the U.S. could save $70 billion in medical costs.

Quitting Smoking: Saving Looks, Costs and Lives

The Smoking Prevalence, Savings, and Treatment (SmokingPaST) Framework calculates how quitting smoking translates to such impressive figures.

We’re not just talking about saving money, but saving the lives of your loved ones and yourself. Smoking is the leading preventable killer, according to the American Heart Association.

COLUMN: Change Habits Beautifully, by Psychology Advisor Art Markman, Ph.D.

Dragging Down Sex, Health & Beauty

Each time you take a drag, thousands of chemicals enter your body, including the toxic and carcinogenic kind. Smoking’s effect on your beauty (read: wrinkles, dull skin) serves as an immediate reminder of what’s going on inside that puts you at risk for disease down the line, like heart disease and stroke.

While nicotine is the addictive agent, it is not the huge health-and-beauty buster (if you forget it is addictive). But the hydrocarbons you absorb with every tobacco puff are huge, health-and-beauty busters.

Hydrocarbons set up an inflammatory reaction that destroys the inner lining cells of your blood vessels, contributing plaque, but also destroying those cells ability to make that beauty-and-pleasure champion nitric oxide. You want nitric oxide—it dilates key blood vessels for men during sex (it’s what Viagra prolongs) and gives women orgasmic pleasure also (both as a result and for women even if you do not partner with a guy). And since even social smoking increases plaque in arteries to your brain, and the brain is the biggest sexual organ, tobacco ruins performance, enjoyment and desire.

If that weren’t enough, your complexion is another telltale sign of smoking’s aging effects on you, whether it shows now or ten years down the line. Healthy blood flow sends much-needed nutrients throughout your body and nitric oxide gives your face its healthy glow. Smoking compromises this blood flow as well as the nitric oxide release, resulting in a yellow or grayish skintone—not your best look. 

MORE: Beauty Signs of Heart Disease


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