Make 2016 a Healthier Year: Quit Smoking!
Every year, nearly half a million people die from smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that smoking can take an average of 13 years off your life.
In light of these costs, don’t you think it’s time to quit? Yes, it’s hard, but you will benefit in the long run: physically, emotionally, and financially.
What Smoking Does
Cancer centers around the world have confirmed that smoking is a major cause of cancer. Although it is well known that smoking can significantly increase a person’s risk of lung cancer, recent studies reveal that smoking is linked to other cancers as well, including breast cancer, liver cancer, and certain types of leukemia.
Outside the increased risk of contracting cancer and lung disease, smoking has many other negative physical effects, including:
- Increased risk of pneumonia and tuberculosis
- Doubled risk of death by heart attack
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of aneurysm
- Increased risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in males
- Increased risk of macular degeneration (blindness), and cataracts
- Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots for women on birth control
- Increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, miscarriage, and low birthweight babies for pregnant women
Other adverse effects include smoking’s impact on your quality of life, reducing your ability to participate in physical activities, and diminishing your mental capacities. With all these detrimental consequences, why are you still smoking?
Do It for Your Heart
Heart disease, heart failure, and other cardiovascular issues are the major causes of premature death in smokers. Many people aren’t aware that the toxins found in cigarette smoke cause artery inflammation, which cuts down the amount of oxygen in your blood. As a result, the heart has to work 30% harder than a non-smoker’s to deliver oxygen to your blood vessels. In turn, your blood pressure rises, until your cardiovascular system can no longer keep up.
Steps to Quit
Snuffing out your cigarette and hoping for the best is not a viable way to quit smoking. As an addictive substance, removing nicotine from your body means dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for quitting smoking:
- Choose a date: Pick a low-stress day of the week/month, and stick to it.
- Choose a method: Cold turkey, cutting back, nicotine patch, etc. Be prepared.
- Know your triggers: Some things can trigger you to reach for a cigarette, so have an alternative ready to help you deal with these triggers.
- Conquer cravings: You don’t have to beat smoking through willpower alone. There are many ways to make cravings easier to handle.
- Manage withdrawal symptoms: Restlessness, insomnia, and other symptoms make quitting a difficult task. Know how to deal with these symptoms before you start.
- Get support: Find a friend to quit with you, or join a support group – it really increases your chances of long-term success.
- Consider professional help: If you’ve tried to quit before, it might be time to get help from a professional who can improve your chances of staying away from cigarettes. Many programs are low cost, or even free.
Remember, it can take several attempts to successfully quit smoking, so don’t give up! Any time you reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke, you help your body heal, and reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
SMH Regional Cancer Center provides help, with resources from the Smoking Cessation Trust, to those smokers in our community who would like to quit.
Get ready, and get help today.