Smoking & Your Health

Facts about smoking

  • Smoking tobacco harms almost every organ in the body, including the heart, blood vessels and lungs.
  • Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health.
  • Smoking cannabis/marijuana has similar physical health concerns as smoking tobacco.

Complications of smoke exposure

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart & arteries):  Smoking tobacco and/or cannabis harms your blood cells, damages blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and arrhythmias.
  • Lung damage: Smoking tobacco and/or cannabis damages the lungs and increases the risk of lung disease and cancer.

Complications of cannabis use

  • Mental health concerns: Cannabis is a psychoactive drug. It can affect memory, concentration, emotions, thinking, learning and decision-making. Frequent use as a youth (before the age of 25) over months or years can harm the developing brain and lead to long-term health and social challenges.

Strategies to reduce smoke exposure

  • Reduce smoke exposure: Reducing exposure to smoke will have a positive impact on your health. When planning to reduce exposure to smoke, develop a plan and get support.
  • Consider smoking cessation therapy: If you are smoking tobacco, there are many forms of smoking cessation strategies to help you cut back, including, smoking cessation counselling, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and pharmacological options. Smoking cessation counselling involves talking to a professional to get information and support to improve your long-term success of quitting.
  • Choose a medication and use it correctly: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) provides a safe and clean delivery of nicotine to reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Prescription medications, such as varenicline (Champix) or Bupropion (Zyban) can reduce symptoms of nicotine cravings and withdrawal.
  • Learn a new skill or behaviour: Try new activities to replace smoking.
  • Make your home and car smoke-free spaces: Try making your home and/or car smoke free. You may also want to consider making other spaces smoke free, such as your workspace, backyard or garage.
  • Be prepared for withdrawals: It is normal to experience withdrawals and cravings. Learning to live smoke-free takes practice. If you have a slip, think about what you could do differently. Remind your friends, family and co-workers that you are quitting.

Want more information?

  • Speak with your Exercise Therapist if you would like access to smoking cessation services and resources.
  • View our handout on Alcohol, Smoking & Your Health.  
  • Join STOP on the Net, an online program to help you quit smoking cigarettes. Join today from the comfort of your home and receive free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches and gum/lozenges mailed to your address.
  • Connect with Smokers’ Helpline online at
  • Call Tele-health Ontario at 1-866-797-0000