Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Every year, almost half a million Americans die early because of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness that was caused by smoking. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking; it’s never too late to quit. You’ll notice almost immediate benefits to your health, and you’ll reduce your chances of disease.
First, if you need a bit of extra motivation, here are all the benefits you’ll get from quitting:
- 20 minutes after quitting – your heart rate and blood pressure drop
- 12 hours after quitting – carbon monoxide levels in your bloodstream drops to normal
- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your circulation and lung function will improve, and your risk of heart attack begins to drop
- 1 to 9 months after quitting, you’ll cough less and breathe easier
- 1 year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
- 2 to 5 years after quitting, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half, and your stroke risk drops to that of a nonsmoker
- 10 years after quitting, you’re half as likely to die from lung cancer, and the risk of kidney or pancreatic cancer decreases
- 15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease becomes the same as non-smoker’s risk
Quitting smoking can also help you add years to your life. Smokers who quit before age 40 reduce their chances of dying early from smoking-related diseases by about 90 percent. Those who quit by age 45 to 54 reduce their chances of dying early by about two-thirds.
When you decide you’re ready to quit, pick a date. This might seem arbitrary, but if you choose a date when you know that you aren’t going to have to deal with something stressful like a big project at work, you’re more likely to not smoke that day. Tell people that you’re quitting. For one thing, they can help keep you accountable. For another, they can support you, for instance, by not smoking around you or by offering encouragement when you’re tempted. Get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, and any other reminders of smoking. Consider laundering blankets and curtains and cleaning the upholstery in your car to get rid of the lingering smell. Identify your triggers – do you smoke when you’re hungry, bored, stressed, while you’re drinking, etc. Finally, develop coping strategies. If you always smoke with the same group of people on break at work, consider getting to know some different people or use that break to take a quick walk.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.