Health TipQuitting Smoking & its Benefits

Approximately 400,000 smokers and 50,000 non-smokers will lose their lives this year from the effects of smoking on their bodies according to SmokeFreeKids.org.  Most people know that tobacco use is harmful to the body, but what they may not know is that smokers on average will lose up to 14 years of their lives just from using tobacco products.

Why is smoking so harmful?  Look at the contents of tobacco.  There are over 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 of them are damaging to the body.  It’s one of the reasons that smoking is the leading cause of cancer in the United States -- it’s a leading cause of cancer of the lungs, esophagus, mouth, throat, kidneys, bladder, stomach, larynx, pancreas and cervix.  

All types of tobacco are dangerous and addictive, including cigars and smokeless tobacco.  Cigars contain the same amount of toxic chemicals that cigarettes do and are also larger in size, containing up to 20 grams of tobacco.  Smokeless tobacco such as chew and snuff can cause oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer, along with gum disease and oral abrasions. 

It’s best never to use tobacco products to avoid risks, but it’s never too late to quit.

How can quitting smoking instantly improve your overall health?

  • Immediately, your body will better hold oxygen in blood circulation as levels of carbon monoxide decline.
  • Quitting smoking lowers your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and other chronic lung conditions.
  • Quitting smoking helps your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal.
  • Circulation improves within a few weeks of quitting.
  • Fewer coughing or wheezing episodes, as well as less phlegm production.
  • Significant improvements in lung function after a number of months.
  • Increased senses of taste and smell.

According to cancer.gov, people who quit at the age of 50 can reduce their risk of premature death by 50 percent, and even those who quit at the age of 60 live longer than their smoking counterparts. 

Quitting smoking or using other tobacco products can be extremely difficult, but it does not have to be a losing battle.  Many groups offer a support hotline for those that want to quit smoking.  Try gaining a support system when trying to quit -- the more support you have, the greater your likelihood for success.  

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