Are you thinking of quitting smoking? The perfect time to get started planning that goal is today.
It’s expensive to smoke. It also is a detriment to your health and the health of those around you. Roughly 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke, 40 percent of nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, and 443,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking and secondhand smoke. Most smokers agree that smoking is harmful to their health, and it’s increasingly becoming more and more inconvenient to smoke.
If you are looking for a reason to quit smoking, or just thinking about it, here are some things you may want to talk with your doctor about (including brief answers highlighting what your doctor may say in reply):
- What are the immediate benefits to quitting?
• Heart rate and blood pressure will begin to return to normal (smoker’s usually are abnormally high).
• Soon after quitting, the level of carbon monoxide begins to decline, allowing the blood to carry more oxygen than while smoking.
• Within weeks, you will experience improved circulation, produce less phlegm, and won’t cough or wheeze as much.
• Within several months, you can expect to see substantial improvements in lung function.
• Your sense of smell and taste will improve.
- What is the long-term benefit? Quitting will reduce your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and COPD. It may take a while, but quitting will reduce the chances you will die from a smoking-related illness.
- Are all forms of tobacco harmful? Yes, all forms are addictive, and harmful. While tobacco patches contain a significantly less amount of nicotine, it still contains the chemical.
- I’ve been diagnosed with cancer/heart disease. Should I still quit smoking? Quitting increases your body’s ability to heal and fight illness. When you stop smoking you also lower your chances of respiratory failure and pneumonia, and improve the chance cancer won’t return or a second cancer won’t develop.
- I want to quit, but I’m afraid it will be hard. Yes, quitting smoking is very hard, but there are many programs and medications to help you win the fight. Many states have localized programs that also may be covered by insurance. There are so many reasons and ways to quit. Get started!
Check out an EmpowHER group, <a href=”http://www.empowher.com/groups/Journey-Cessation-Quitting-Smoking”>The Journey to Cessation: Quitting Smoking</a>
Your doctor may also have some resources to help you quit. Talk with them to see if medication will help and to look into support groups or other aids to help you quit.
www.heart.org American Heart Association, My Life Check Assessment
www.cancer.gov Harms of Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting
www.lungusa.org American Lung Association, Stop Smoking
www.smokefree.gov Smoking Cessation Program
Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.