Why You Should Quit Smoking
You probably already know about the link between smoking and lung cancer, but what many people don’t know is that smoking also increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancers of the mouth, throat, kidneys, bladder, cervix and pancreas. Read on to learn why and how to make a plan to quit smoking.
What Quitting Can Do for You
You probably already know about the link between smoking and lung cancer, but what many people don’t know is that smoking also increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancers of the mouth, throat, kidneys, bladder, cervix and pancreas.
Don’t Wait to Quit Smoking
According to the American Heart Association and the U.S. Surgeon General, when you quit smoking:
- 20 minutes: Blood pressure and heart rate recover from nicotine-induced spikes.
- 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
- 2 weeks: Circulation and lung function begin to improve. Energy and stamina improve.
- 1-9 months: Breathing becomes easier.
- 1 year: Risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half.
- 5 years: Risk of cancer of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are reduced by half. Risk of cervical cancer and stroke return to normal.
- 10 years: Risk of lung cancer reduced by half.
- 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease returns to the same as a non-smoker’s.
Reasons to Quit
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, and quitting is one of the best ways to improve your health.
Nearly 33% deaths from coronary heart disease are related to smoking and secondhand smoke.
Nearly 90% of lung cancer cases in the United States are related to smoking.
Smoking in Kentucky
In 2018, Kentucky had one of the highest percentages of adult smokers in the United States (24.1% in Kentucky, 17.1% nationwide average).
Steps to Quit Smoking
Know Your Reason
What motivates you to quit smoking? It is important to know why you’re quitting and to keep that in mind when quitting gets hard.
Talk to a Professional
Your doctor can help you decide if nicotine replacement therapies are a good option for you. Your doctor can also provide insight, support and encouragement on your journey to quit smoking.
A smoking cessation counselor also can provide tips and strategies to effectively quit smoking. Many of these counselors have quit smoking themselves, so they can share their experience as well as support and encouragement when you need some extra help.
Plan Your Quitting Strategy
Whether you go cold turkey or slowly reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, plan your method to quit and stick to it.
Change Your Environment
Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. Don’t let other people smoke in your home. Think about and remove yourself from situations in which you most crave a cigarette.
Make sure to let your friends and family know that you need to successfully quit smoking. You can also talk to your doctor or telephone counselors at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Prepare for Roadblocks
Think through what your smoking triggers are and try to avoid those situations.
- Diet: Prepare healthy snacks to take your mind off cravings when they strike.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help fight cravings and reduce your chance of weight gain.
- Alcohol: If you smoke when you drink alcohol, consider giving up alcohol when you quit smoking.
- Stress: Learn what causes your stress and find other ways to react, rather than smoking. Try going for a walk or meditating each day.
On average, smokers die 13-14 years sooner than similar people who are not smokers. Life is already too short.
Take steps to quit smoking today.