Preventative Wellness: Why Smoking Matters

Smoking: the habit almost everyone wishes they could break. We have tips and resource to help you leave this health hazard behind.

183169636The dangers of smoking are thoroughly documented. This habit harms almost every organ in the body and has a negative impact on the overall health of the smoker and those exposed to the second-hand smoke. Cigarette smoking causes 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States, more than 440,000 deaths each year. For every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer at least one serious illness caused by smoking. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

More than 43 million adult Americans smoke—but the vast majority wants to quit, and we want to do our part to help. Nicotine is addictive, and withdrawal symptoms make smoking a tough habit to break. We’ve got some tips to help you leave this habit behind:

Make a list of your reasons for quitting. The strength of your motivation to quit is very important to your success. What reasons galvanize your determination? Do you want to watch your children grow up and have children of their own? Spend your retirement years in active travel? Improve your health, or your family’s health? Write your goals down, and keep them with you.

If support will boost your odds of success, help is available. Free assistance are available through the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline and online at the CDC website, which provides tips from former smokers. Your physician can also help you access the resources you need.

Remind yourself that smoking risks are reversible. The sooner you quit the habit, the sooner you’ll start to realize these health benefits:

  • One year after you quit, your risk of heart attack will drop sharply.
  • Two to five years without a cigarette and your risk for stroke could be roughly equivalent to that of a nonsmoker.
  • Your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop will be halved within five years.
  • In ten years, your risk for lung cancer also drops by half.

As you progress toward your goal, remember that more than half of all adult smokers have quit. You can too. There may not be a more important step you can take to safeguard your health and the health of your family.

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