If you keep your fingers off the cigarette, you generally reduce the risk of various diseases. Smoking is directly responsible for around one fifth of all cancers, but heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and chronic bronchitis can also often be traced back to smoking.
Every year, 110,000 to 140,000 people die in Germany as a result of tobacco consumption, around 40 percent of which are due to cardiovascular diseases. In addition, every year 85,000 people develop cancer as a result of smoking. Anyone who smokes or has smoked also shows a much higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis – an inflammation of the joints.
According to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the function of the respiratory tract improves just three days after the last cigarette. After a week, blood pressure drops and with it the risk of a heart attack. After one to nine months, coughing fits, sinus congestion, and shortness of breath decrease. The lungs are gradually cleaned by breaking down phlegm. The risk of infection is reduced.
Two years after quitting smoking, a former smoker has almost the same risk of cardiovascular disease as a non-smoker. Smokers who have been smoke-free for five years have the same risk of heart attack as non-smokers. After five years, the risk of cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus and urinary bladder also falls by half. The risk of stroke can also drop to that of a non-smoker after just two to five years.