Breathe easier — the benefits of quitting smoking

Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It significantly lowers overall health and causes organ damage and diseases like cancer.1 Quitting smoking can help reduce the damage done to your body, lower the risk of disease, and help you live a healthier life.

Reasons to quit smoking

Smoking affects every part of your body. That’s why quitting is so beneficial for your health. While it is best to stop smoking earlier in life, quitting has benefits if you are a new or a veteran smoker.

When you quit smoking, you can:2

  • Decrease the risk of developing 12 types of cancer. 
  • Increase your life expectancy. 
  • Improve your overall health. 
  • Lower the risk of heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 
  • Reduce poor reproductive health outcomes.

How to quit smoking

Quitting is not easy. Nicotine, the chemical compound found naturally in tobacco, is highly addictive and makes smokers crave smoke and feel sick if they ignore the craving. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help you start your journey to living smokefree.

Find help through your health plan

Your health plan may cover tobacco cessation services or offer counseling and other resources.

Talk to a counselor

1-800-QUIT-NOW  is a hotline that connects you to an experienced counselor day or night, seven days a week. They can help you find support and resources in your area and create a personalized quitting plan.

Access online resources

If you prefer to seek help online,  is a great resource to find:

  • A step-by-step guide to quitting. 
  • Instant messaging with an expert. 
  • Free apps, articles, and booklets.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and other medications

NRT can double the chance of quitting for good. There are seven medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help you quit. They work in different ways. All have been shown to be safe and effective for adults who smoke cigarettes.3

Can vapes help me quit?

While e-cigarettes, commonly known as vapes, eliminate some of the health risks of smoking, they still deliver pure nicotine. This makes vapes as addictive as cigarettes.

The FDA warns consumers about the potential health risks of vaping.4 Some of their concerns include the following:

  • Most vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
  • Vapes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
  • Young people who use vapes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
  • Vape use among youth has been associated with mental health conditions such as depression.

Going smokefree benefits everyone’s health

When you stop smoking, you improve not only your health but also the health of those around you.

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke — even brief exposure can cause immediate harm.5 Quitting is the best way to protect your loved ones, coworkers, and friends.

Carelon Health offers Advanced Primary Care that can help you find the proper treatment to quit smoking and become a healthier version of yourself. Visit the Advanced Primary Care page to learn more.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking (accessed September 2023):
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Benefits of Quitting (accessed September 2023):
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Quit Smoking Medicines (accessed September 2023):
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults (accessed September 2023):
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Secondhand Smoke (accessed September 2023):