1. You won’t have to pay more and more and more and more each year.
Yup, taxes will almost certainly continue to go up. New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut are among the states leaning harder on smokers for revenue, but even some tobacco-growing states are beginning to milk the coffin-nail cash cow. Lawmakers’ reasoning: There is evidence that price increases cause smokers to reduce consumption. And the medical costs of smoking are astronomical—a huge burden to the states.
2. Really, if you think cigarette prices can’t go up much more, you’ve got Wall Street against you as well as the government.
Addiction—to oil, tobacco, etc.—is a very good thing to bank on. Many on Wall Street remain bullish about Big Tobacco’s ability to jack up prices, even if sales drop because of tax increases.
3. You’ll be smarter than Goofy.
“No Smoking” is a superb 1951 Disney cartoon depicting the history of tobacco use and, in modern times, Goofy’s addiction and attempt to quit (there’s a hilarious Mad Men-ish scene of an office full of smokers). It ends with him smoking an exploding cigar as the narrator concludes: “Give the smoker enough rope and he’ll hang on to his habit.”
4. Once you quit, you’ll find it more amusing that tobacco soup smells like s**t.
Or at least that’s what kids at a Washington state elementary school said when Teens Against Tobacco Use visited their class recently and mixed up a concoction of cigarette ingredients.
5. Smoking can cramp your style in the bedroom.
Smoking can affect circulation; with less blood flow to your genitals, arousal for both men and women can be more difficult.
6. Sever yourself from the sordid history of animal testing in smoking research.
Smoking-related cancer researchers have long used animals as test subjects, producing the famous smoking beagles photos from the 1970s, which are still used by antivivisection sites today.
7. You’ll sleep better.
Smokers are four times as likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep, a Johns Hopkins study found; it seems going through nicotine withdrawal each night can contribute to sleep disturbances.
8. Cool bonuses at work may be in your future.
Employers are increasingly offering incentives—such as gift cards, premium discounts, or cash—to employees who participate in smoking cessation programs.
9. Quitting is a plausible excuse to play computer games.
A recent survey commissioned by online game maker Real Networks suggests that playing games online can help distract people from smoking.
10. Nonsmokers have stronger bones than smokers.
Women smokers have been found to lose 2.3% to 3.3% of bone mineral density for every 10 pack-years of tobacco use. The effects are even worse in postmenopausal women.
11. You won’t have to look at those horrible antismoking messages on cigarette packs.
American messages are mild by comparison, but you have to think that this country will follow Canada, the UK, Australia, Jordan, Romania, and Uruguay by starting to put big pictures of rotting teeth, mouth cancer, and postmortem tumors right on the box. When that happens, you’ll be looking at a charming, very uncool image every time you light up. Check out the gallery at the feisty site run by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
12. That ringing in your ears will be sweet music, not just…ringing in your ears.
Smokers have a nearly 70% greater likelihood of developing hearing loss than nonsmokers.
13. You’ll have less chance of being labeled a wild, troubled, tragic genius.
Obligatory Amy Wine house mention here: She recently emerged from the hospital with early signs of emphysema—possibly crack-induced—and lit up a cigarette.
14. You’ll have more dining and barhopping options on overseas vacations.
England, France, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico are among the exciting destinations now 100% smoke-free in restaurants and bars.
15. You may be less likely to get psoriasis.
Studies have shown that daily smoking is linked to the risk of developing psoriasis. The higher the number of cigarettes over 20 smoked per day, the greater that risk.
16. Your chance of having cold hands and feet will go down…
When you quit smoking, your circulation gets better right away.
17. …which means you can reduce your risk of frostbite.
Smoking restricts circulation, which is particularly bad for the fingers and toes of those desperate people who step outside to puff in wintry climates.
18. You can drink less coffee for the same buzz—and save money.
Smokers’ bodies clear caffeine 56% more quickly than nonsmokers’. That’s why you should cut your caffeine intake in half when you quit—or risk some serious irritability and insomnia.
19. The Pill suddenly becomes a lot safer to use.
If you’re on the Pill and smoke, you should cut out one or the other. The Pill is not recommended for smokers because oral contraceptives carry a risk of clots, heart attacks, and strokes; those risks are increased if you smoke.
20. Slow the progression from HIV to AIDS.
HIV-positive people who smoke appear to have a faster progression time to AIDS than those who don’t smoke. The effect is likely a result of smoking’s impact on the immune system.
21. You may be able to cut back on your dosage of certain medications.
Smoking affects the liver enzymes that process certain drugs, so smokers sometimes need to take higher doses to get the same effect.
22. You’ll be less likely to burn down your house.
One study found that people who live in smoking households were up to 6.6 times more likely to experience a fire injury than those in nonsmoking households. According to another study, cigarettes were the cause of 55% of all house fires involving a fatality. Overall, cigarettes are the leading cause of death from residential fires. On April 9, 2008, a 3-year-old Texas boy burned down his family’s house after playing with a cigarette lighter. The boy, a report said, would now attend a fire safety course.
23. You’ll cut your risk of Crohn’s disease.
Smokers are four times more likely as those who never smoked to develop this chronic—sometimes debilitating—disease, which can be painful, causes frequent diarrhea, and can require intestinal surgery.
24. Save money—lots of it—and purchase more important luxuries, like gas.
Calculate how much you’ll save.
25. If you stop buying cigarettes online, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also chip away at a sleazy business.
Yes, you can save tons of money buying cigarettes online—but then you’re supporting a sleazy business. In 2004, a California study showed that kids had no problem finding and ordering cigs online, and 77% got their tobacco delivered. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2003 showed that 92% of minors were able to buy smokes online despite the prevalence of age warnings on the sites.
26. Decrease your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Smokers are at two to four times greater risk of developing coronary heart disease as nonsmokers. Cigarette smokers with coronary heart disease are also at twice the risk for sudden cardiac death as nonsmokers with coronary heart disease.
27. You’ll be less likely to die of a brain tumor.
The brain is a common site for lung cancer to spread. In fact, according to the American College of Radiology, radiation therapy may sometimes be used on the brain even when no cancer has been detected in “this vital site.”
28. You’ll brighten up your choppers.
Nobody likes tobacco stains. The average professional teeth-cleaning procedure costs somewhere between $500 and $1000.
29. You’ll be less wrinkly.
After 10 years, smoking can speed up your skin’s aging process by narrowing your skin’s blood vessels and damaging the tissues that give the skin its strength and elasticity.
30. Cut the risk of acid reflux.
If you’ve smoked for 20 years, you’re 70% more likely than a nonsmoker to have acid reflux.
31. Carry a smaller purse or streamline your pants.
No more toting that pack (or two) of cigarettes, lighter, breath strips, and gum.
32. Enjoy your food more.
Smoking diminishes the taste of food and the pleasure of eating.
33. Preserve your sense of smell.
About twice as many smokers as nonsmokers have a reduced sense of smell.
34. Eat less. (Despite muting the taste buds, smoking brings food cravings of its own.)
Smoking increases food cravings in women, particularly for starchy carbohydrates and high-fat foods.
35. Avoid that attractive “yellow fingers” look.
Smoking can permanently stain your fingers.
36. Keep your walls the color you painted them.
Cigarette smoke creates persistent yellow stains on painted walls that take a concentrated effort to remove.
37. Reduce the premature need for expensive hair treatments.
Smokers are three to six times more likely to go prematurely gray than nonsmokers.
38. Reduce the need for premature hairpieces.
Men who smoke are twice as likely to become bald as men who don’t smoke.
39. Cheer up without meds.
Smoking may increase the risk of depression.
40. You’d fit in nicely working at Dell.
The computer giant (with 28,000 U.S. employees) is banning smoking on all its U.S. campuses starting January 1, 2009.
41. Protect Fido and Fluffy.
A number of studies show that secondhand smoke at home may be associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and lung cancer in birds.
42. Get more work done at the office.
A study in the Netherlands showed that smokers took an average of 11 more sick days a year than nonsmokers.
43. No more little, round burn holes in your clothes or car seats.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing linen, cotton, or wool (or if your car seats are wearing leather or vinyl), all sorts of materials are susceptible to cigarette burns.
44. Cut your chances of a horrible elevator experience.
If you take cigarette breaks in a tall building, you’ll take more elevator rides. Let this guy’s story of a smoke break that turned into a 41-hour captivity be a cautionary tale.
45. Save water, cut your carbon footprint.
According to GreenYour.com, washing machines suck up 21.7 percent of household water usage. Stinky clothes need more washing. Ergo, you’ll save water and reduce your electricity bill.
46. Save trees, cut your carbon footprint.
A Belgian University study from the 1990s cited deforestation (to make way for tobacco farming) and wood burning (to cure the tobacco) as negative factors in the ecology of developing countries.
47. If Obama can do it, so can you. Yes, you can.
Well, at least he’s trying. The senator took some heat in early 2007 from, among others, Fox News, causing the BBC to comment derisively on the “McCarthyite” aspects of the story.
48. Spend less time in the dentist’s chair.
According to the American Dental Association, smoking puts you at greater risk for all kinds of dental problems, including oral cancer and gum disease. It also takes longer for your dentist to clean all the stains off your teeth at your checkups.
Wouldn’t you rather be doing, well, anything other than sitting in a dentist’s chair?
49. Save money on breath fresheners.
The gum, mint, and breath freshener industry takes in $3.7 billion a year. But it’ll take less of your money if you don’t have to pop a mint after every smoke.
50. Be nagged less.
We now live in a society where haranguing a smoker is almost a civic duty, and certainly an act of love if said smoker is a relative or dear friend. Like most smokers, Kevin Ambrose, 52, of Washington Grove, Md., gets ribbed about quitting: “My wife wants me to quit, my kids want me to quit, my cardiologist wants me to quit, my father wants me to quit,” he says.
51. Stop that nagging cough too.
Those most at risk for bronchitis are smokers or people who live with smokers.
52. Use the cigarette lighter for a higher purpose: Keep your kids from fighting in the car.
Most portable appliances, including iPods and personal DVD players, plug in to the cigarette lighter in your car via an adapter. Chuck the lighter and deploy the power source to keep the kids entertained with movies or music.
53. Avoid carbon monoxide and other well-known killers.
Cigarettes produce carbon monoxide, which, when inhaled, binds to the oxygen-carrying molecules in your body, depriving you of air.
54. Your life insurance rates will go down—substantially…
One 2007 comparison showed a 40-year-old nonsmoker paying $55.13 a month for a $1 million 20-year policy. The price for a smoker of the same age: $231.46 per month. That’s pure, actuarial math—the increased risk of dying that the smoker presents to the insurance company and that the company then passes on to the smoker.
55. …and your life insurance company may even bribe you to quit.
John Hancock’s Quit Smoking Incentive allows a cigarette smoker to pay a nonsmoker premium for the first three years of the policy. If the smoker hasn’t quit and stayed off cigarettes for at least 12 months by then, the premium doubles.
56. You won’t be pumping out carcinogens like a Soviet-era steel plant.
According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, there are more than 50 carcinogens in secondhand smoke.
57. Your wounds will heal better.
Several studies have found that smokers do not heal as well after surgeries such as face lifts, tooth extractions, and periodontal procedures.
58. Your baby will be safer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is linked to a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Tell us: Should it be illegal to smoke in front of children?
59. Clean up your children’s lungs.
Secondhand smoke is now believed to be a risk factor for children to develop asthma; it also contributes to respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) and ear infections, as well as coughing, wheezing, and decreased lung function.
60. If you’re pregnant, you can leave the 70% of pregnant smokers who can’t quit in your dust.
According to the American Lung Association, only 30% of smokers quit when they find out they are pregnant. In 2004, 10% of women giving birth were smokers.
61. Experience menopause as scheduled, not before.
Smoking may advance the arrival of menopause in women by several years.
62. Perk up those sperm!
Even if they can get it up, men who smoke cigarettes have a lower sperm count and motility and increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function than men who don’t smoke.
63. Cut down on your cadmium, arsenic, N-nitrosamines, and formaldehyde.
Cigarette smoke contains some 4,000 chemical agents.
64. Earn more money and have more job options.
Smokers earn anywhere from 4% to 11% less than nonsmokers. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Workrights Institute estimates that there are more than 6,000 companies in the U.S. that attempt to regulate off-duty smoking and other private behavior.
65. Date more—at least in Canada…
A 2005 survey of Canadians, done by Nicoderm (a patch product) and Lava life (a site that says it has “thousands of local, sexy adult online singles”), found that 56% of people would not date a smoker.
66. …and get dumped less.
In that same survey, 20% had, or knew someone who had, broken up with someone because he or she smoked.
67. Enjoy chocolate more.
In a study, women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet flavors than women who never smoked.
68. Get more pleasure out of life.
No matter what the cigarette makers say about tobacco-induced coolness, bonhomie, cowboy-ruggedness, independence, and sexiness, it’s mostly nonsense. Scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in the UK assessed the well-being of nearly 10,000 people over the age of 50 and found that smokers in the group reported lower than average levels of pleasure and less satisfaction with their lives than the nonsmokers.
69. Crash your car less often.
In a 1990 study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, smokers had a 1.5-fold increase in risk for motor vehicle crashes over nonsmokers.
70. Be indoors more often, where it’s safer.
This smokers-on-a-balcony disaster video is a joke, but it’s only one of a whole genre of “funny reasons to quit smoking” videos on YouTube that you can enjoy while not smoking.
71. Be more kissable.
Kiss someone after smoking a cigarette and you may get the same reaction as these chimpanzees.
72. Stop being a horrible influence on children.
Children of smokers are twice as likely to smoke.
73. As we said, you’ll stop being a horrible influence on children.
Exposure to secondhand smoke, even low amounts, hurts kids’ cognitive skills and is linked to increased behavioral problems.
74. Your children will even have healthier teeth, for crying out loud.
Children raised in houses where one or both adults smoke are more likely to develop tooth decay.
75. Your mouth will be better off too.
Smoking compromises saliva flow and function. Saliva is important for cleaning the lining of the teeth and mouth and protecting teeth from decay. 76. You’ll look better in front of a judge.
Secondhand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), can have an adverse impact on child-custody decisions.
77. Preserve your eyesight.
Exposure to cigarette smoke doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
78. If you quit, it will be easier for your partner to quit.
Several studies have found that it’s harder to quit when you live with someone who smokes.
79. No more huffing and puffing during workouts.
Cigarette smoking causes carbon monoxide to seep into your blood, which limits the amount of oxygen it can carry to your heart, lungs, and muscles.
80. Save money on dry cleaning.
Quitters will no longer have to pay to remove the stench of smoke from their sweaters and sport coats.
81. Broaden your online dating options.
Sites aimed at smokers, like datingforsmokers.com (“Light up your love life”), are a bit limiting.
82. Be warmer in the winter.
No more standing in the snow outside bars and restaurants.
83. Contribute more to the nation’s productivity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that premature deaths caused by smoking cost the U.S. roughly $92 billion in lost productivity each year.
84. Hold on to your marbles longer.
A 2007 Dutch study of 7,000 people published in the journal Neurology concluded that current smoking increases the risk of dementia. Past smoking doesn’t. At the time, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted a researcher as saying that “increasingly as we age, [smoking] is a major threat to the health of your brain.”
85. Get rid of genital warts faster.
An Australian study showed that genital warts were more likely to linger for six months or more in men who were smokers compared with nonsmokers.
86. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 1.
Compared with nonsmokers, female smokers have a higher incidence of infertility and take longer to conceive.
87. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 2.
Cigarette smoking harms a woman’s ovaries, and the degree of harm increases with the number of cigarettes and length of time a woman smokes.
88. Improve your chances of getting pregnant: Part 3.
Smoking appears to speed up the loss of eggs and reproductive function in women.
89. Improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to interfere with the ability of cells in the ovary to make estrogen. These chemicals also cause a woman’s eggs (oocytes) to be more prone to genetic abnormalities.
90. Now that you’re pregnant, improve your chances of the pregnancy turning out well.
Smoking is strongly associated with an increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage and possibly ectopic pregnancy.
91. Another reason you’ll improve your chances of the pregnancy turning out well.
Pregnant smokers are more likely to have underweight and premature babies than pregnant nonsmokers.
92. Less chance—if the Chinese example is anything to go by—of suffering tobacco-induced limp-noodle syndrome, which is not a technical term but you get the idea.
One 2007 study estimated that more than 20% of erectile dysfunction cases in Chinese men could be attributed to smoking.
93. You could save $14 per pack!
You will, however, split that savings with your employer and the nation. Here’s the math: If cigarettes are $7 per pack in your local store today, add another $7.18 (at least), because that’s the 2002 estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the per-pack cost in lost productivity and medical costs caused by cigarettes. Given the skyrocketing cost of medical care in this country, the savings may even be greater than that.
94. After you quit, it will be safe to watch Mad Men.
AMC’s riveting, smoke-wreathed, ultracool series about ad agencies in the early 1960s is an hour-long inducement to light up. Until you’ve safely quit, here’s an alternative: Visit the online Legacy Tobacco Documents Library to read memos and reports tracing the real-life efforts of tobacco companies to advertise and market cigarettes in the years before and after the historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report declaring smoking a health hazard.
95. You will be much less likely to be the butt of a headline like “Smoking Woman in Air Rage.”
According to The Smoking Gun, the popular Web site that serves up arrest warrants and other documents pertaining to bad behavior, a 35-year-old New Yorker lit up a cigarette on a JetBlue flight to San Francisco on June 17, 2008, began cursing, punched a flight attendant, and had to be restrained while the plane made a diversion to Denver.
96. You will laugh less self-consciously at a headline like “Smoking Now Permitted Only in Special Room in Iowa.”
Check out The Onion’s hilarious 1998 story about a congressional law “restricting smoking in the U.S. to a specially designated ‘smoking lounge’ in Oskaloosa, IA.” The story quotes an antismoking activist: “We must continue to lobby for greater restrictions until smoking is only allowed beyond the orbit of the outermost gas giant Neptune.”
97. Oh, did we mention you’ll likely live longer?
Every cigarette you smoke cuts 11 minutes off your expected life span.