Living Well: It’s not too late to kick the habit!
Quitting for just one day is beneficial to health
By Hope Williams
Health and Wellness Specialist, Ministry Medical Group
Each year, the Thursday before Thanksgiving is recognized as the Great American Smoke Out by the American Cancer Society.
The Great American Smoke Out provides an opportunity to triumph over addiction, to go the distance and give up smoking. Don’t worry if you missed this particular date on the calendar. You can pick your own date and once you get through day one, the next days will be easier.
It may take several times to quit smoking but don’t get frustrated, just try again. This is very normal as nicotine is very addictive and most people have several failed attempts at quitting before they are successful.
Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco. About 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and over 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
By quitting — even for one day — you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk. It’s a race for your health, and it starts today. Today’s the day that quitters win.
Now is a great time to try to quit smoking, before the hustle and bustle of the holidays is upon us. Then when the New Year comes you will already have accomplished your new year’s resolution. Quitting smoking is hard, REALLY HARD, but you can do it 5 minutes at a time! Once you have decided to quit you will have cravings, try to ride out the craving for 5 minutes, and usually the strong desire to smoke will pass.
American Cancer Society says
it takes this long for your body to recover after smoking…
20 Minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 Hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 Weeks -3 Months: Your circulation improves, and your lung function increases.
1-9 Months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 Year: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
5 Years: The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
10 Years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
15 Years: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
Do not try to quit smoking alone. Ask your family, friends, and coworkers to help you. Ask them to not offer you cigarettes or smoke around you. Clear your home and vehicle of all cigarettes, lighters and ash trays.
Are you ready to quit?
Your Primary Care Provider can assist you with quitting (by prescribing medications, or referring you to tobacco counseling. 1.800.QUIT.NOW is a 24-7 telephone support line. You can also visit these online resources: TobaccoFree.org or cancer.org.
Supporting a friend or loved one who smokes: Be there for them but do not nag at them, they need to do this when they are ready.
Hope Williams, RD, CD, CDE, CLS, is a Health & Wellness Specialist with Ministry Medical Group in Rhinelander