Smoking is a dangerous habit that can lead to severe health problems and even death. Cigarette smoking is an addiction that is very hard, but not impossible, to quit. Over 400,000 American deaths are caused by smoking-related illnesses each year. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals of which at least 43 are carcinogens. Everyone has their own reason for wanting to give up smoking but here are some of the many ways an individual can benefit from quitting:
Immediate benefits from quitting smoking
• Healing – Within just 20 minutes of smoking a cigarette the body begins to heal itself. After just 1 day of quitting smoking blood pressure decreases lowering the risk of heart attack.
• Better senses of smell and taste – In as little as 2 days without a cigarette the nerve endings responsible for taste and smell begin to heal which can lead to a heightened sense of smell and taste for quitters.
• Save money – The average American smoker can expect to save been $1,200 and $1,700 each year that they do not smoke. Heavy smokers can save even more money.
• Save time – Quitter’s Circle reveals that pack-a-day smokers can save up to two hours every day they do not smoke. This quickly adds up to one full month of around-the-clock wasted time spent smoking each year.
Long-term benefits from quitting smoking
• Lowers risk of cancer – Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of death from lung cancer as well as at least 13 other types of cancer including stomach, pancreatic, urinary bladder, kidney and cervical cancer.
• Longer life – According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, men who have never smoked live an average of 10 years longer than heavy smokers.
• Lowers risk of heart disease – Smoking increases the chance of developing coronary heart disease by lowering good cholesterol. Smokers also have higher blood pressure which increases the risk of blood clots and stroke.
• Lowers the risk of dementia and cognitive decline – Studies have shown that smoking during middle age is linked to memory issues and a decline in reasoning. Elderly smokers are at a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline compared to nonsmokers and those who have long quit.
• Lowers the risk of diabetes – Journal of the American Medical Association published an analysis in 2007 which found that across 25 prior studies, smokers have a 44 percent greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes. This risk was even higher for those who smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day. Additionally, those researchers estimate that about 12 percent of all type 2 diabetes in the United States can be attributed to smoking.
• Improved sleep – Researchers have found that smoking can disrupt sleep which can lead to depression and anxiety. Smoking can make it harder for individuals to fall asleep and also disrupts the sleep they do get. After 2 hours of not smoking all of the nicotine has left the body. This can cause withdrawal symptoms and restlessness for smokers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, smokers are at higher risk of insomnia. Smokers are also 2.5 times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
• Protect others – Quitting smoking can protect those close to smokers from the dangerous side effects of secondhand smoke. The American Lung Association estimates that secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,333 deaths from lung cancer and an additional 33,950 deaths from heart disease annually.
If you or someone you know needs help to quit smoking please click here for more information as well as free tips and tools about quitting. Smoking is one of the leading causes of stroke. After 5 years of quitting smoking the chance of stoke is equal to that of a person who has never smoked. OakBend Medical Center has the latest technology in screening and stroke prevention for patients throughout the greater Houston area. If you or a loved one has suffered from a stroke or are risk of a stroke please contact OakBend Medical Center to schedule an appointment with a stroke specialist at 281-341-3000.