The Surgeon General put out the first report on smoking and health back in 1964. Since then, smoking among U.S. adults has gone from 43% to about 14% in 2018. But even though the numbers have improved, it’s still the leading preventable cause of death and disease in this country. If you smoke, here’s a reminder of why to quit:
- Improves your health – In just 24 hours after your last cigarette, the health benefits begin. Over time, quitting reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer. It also lowers your risk of premature death and can give you almost 10 more years of life. If you’re pregnant, there are health benefits for you and your baby.
- Saves you money – A pack of cigarettes can cost more than $10 in some places. Imagine if you could save thousands of dollars a year by giving up your habit.
- Impacts your quality of life – Your sense of taste and smell gets better when you quit. You won’t be told to go outside at smoke-free bars and restaurants. And your clothes and hair won’t be giving off that smoke smell.
- Helps other people – You won’t be contributing to secondhand smoke, which is dangerous and harms everyone who inhales it.
How you quit can make the difference
Many people try to quit “cold turkey.” That means stopping suddenly on your own, without support. According to Dr. J. Taylor Hays of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, at least 95% of people struggle to successfully quit long-term by using this method.
So what’s the smartest way to quit? Experts have shown that using a combination of counseling and medications can more than double your chances of successfully quitting. There are a variety of medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including different forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Combining approved medicines and NRT can make your chances of quitting even better.
Ready to quit? Get the help you need
If you’re on a mission to quit, you now know getting support is key. The National Cancer Institute created a website called Smokefree.gov with resources to help. You can find tips, quizzes, plans, apps, text messaging programs, and more. Check it out by clicking here.
For more help on quitting, contact Henry J. Austin Health Center at 609-278-5900.
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