Smoking, Vaping and Tobacco

Making healthy choices like eating well, being more active, sleeping well, drinking less (or no) alcohol, and quitting tobacco will not only reduce your risk for chronic diseases, but will also make you feel better. Of these choices, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health. You will start seeing health benefits soon after your last cigarette.

20 minutes: your heart rate and blood pressure drop

8 hours: your carbon monoxide levels drop, your oxygen levels improve

24 hours: your risk of having a heart attack starts to drop

48 hours: your sense of smell and taste start to improve

2 weeks to 3 months: your lungs are working up to 30% better than before and you may be breathing easier

1 year: your risk of heart disease is cut in half

5 years: your risk of a stroke is now the same as a non-smoker

10 years: your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half and your risk of developing mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and/or pancreas cancers decreases

15 years: your risk of heart disease is like that of a non-smoker

What is public health’s role?

Public health units across Ontario work to reduce the harm caused by commercial tobacco products. This includes:

Commercial tobacco and nicotine addiction

Tobacco products contain nicotine, a very addictive drug. Your brain and body quickly get used to the effects of nicotine and need more and more to avoid withdrawal symptoms like having trouble concentrating or feeling irritable.  Nicotine can also be found in vaping products and increases the risks of further nicotine addiction in youth and young adults.

It is important to note that commercial tobacco is tobacco that is grown, manufactured, and sold for profit by the tobacco industry. It does not include traditional tobacco.

Traditional tobacco

Traditional tobacco, also known as ceremonial or sacred tobacco, is very different from commercial tobacco. Traditional tobacco has been used by Indigenous Peoples for thousands of years as a sacred medicine and is an important part of culture and spiritual connectedness. To learn more, visit Tobacco Wise.


This item was last modified on November 23, 2023