Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Nobody debates that.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that produces feelings of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety.
Who doesn’t want to feel less anxiety? The problem is, smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of many different health problems. And becoming seriously ill won’t do anything to improve your anxiety levels.
Here are just some of the health problems caused by smoking:
- Lung cancer and other cancers
- Chronic bronchitis
- Coronary heart disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High heart rate
- Blood clots
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gum disease and tooth loss
- Asthma attacks
- Pregnancy complications
- Overall higher chance of death
It’s not a pretty list. Smoking damages pretty much every organ of the body, and causes disease. Secondhand smoking is also a risk factor in lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
If you smoke, our goal is not to shame or scare you.
Today is the Great American Smokeout®—the first day of your journey to a smoke-free life. The American Cancer Society runs this event to encourage people to give up cigarettes for a day.
The ACS says you don’t have to quit smoking in one day. Try it for today, and visit the American Cancer Society for more information and resources.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
It’s not all doom and gloom. And it’s certainly never too late to quit smoking. Even if you’ve smoked a pack a day for the last 30 years, your body has an incredible self-healing mechanism that can start the healing process within a few hours.
Here are some amazing statistics from the CDC:
- Quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
- Within 2 – 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a non-smoker’s.
- If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.
Here’s a great infographic from SmokeFree60+, showing what exactly happens to your body when you quit smoking—from as soon as 20 minutes from the last cigarette!
Will you participate in the Great American Smokeout today? Let us know in the comments!