Today is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, an annual event that encourages smokers to make a plan to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate benefits to health at any age, including reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers. A report on effective clinical treatments for tobacco dependence in 2008 found getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances for quitting. In 2010, a survey found nearly 2-out-of-3 adult smokers said they wanted to quit smoking, and approximately half had made a “quit attempt” for more than one day in the preceding year. Additional information and support for quitting is available online at www.smokefree.gov or by telephone at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). In addition, real stories of people who have quit successfully can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips from Former Smokers website at www.cdc.gov/tips. At its website, www.cancer.org/smokeout, the American Cancer Society offers free tips and tools to help smokers quit, such as a Guide to Quitting Smoking, a Cigarette Cost Calculator, and a list of health benefits smokers will realize after they quit. Here are some of those benefits:
- 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- Two weeks to three months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- One to nine months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
- One year after quitting: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker.
(Courtesy Dial Global)