We’ve heard it many times: “Quitting smoking is easier said than done.” For those that don’t smoke, that statement may be difficult to understand. For those who smoke and have tried to quit, they know it’s a complicated battle—not impossible to win but very difficult to conquer.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. Approximately 160,000 people will die from lung cancer this year.
“The benefits from quitting smoking can be endless, with the health benefits being the greatest reward,” says Dr. Axel W. Joob, director of the Center for Thoracic Diseases at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
According to experts, a big motivation to quit smoking is understanding how much your quality of life will increase and how many more years you’re adding to your life.
The American Cancer Society offers five key benefits to quitting smoking—for you and your family.
1. Your family’s health—Secondhand smoke causes many health problems in adults and children, including heart disease and lung cancer in adults, and respiratory infections and asthma attacks in children.
2. Set the example—Most smokers, when asked, respond that they don’t want their children to smoke. But parents who smoke are more likely to have children who smoke. By quitting, you can serve as a better role model for your child.
3. Immediate rewards—For starters, clean breath and better-tasting food are great instant bonuses. Others include everyday activities won’t leave you out of breath; bad-smelling car, hair and clothes become a thing of the past; and most importantly, interacting with non-smoking friends and family may turn into a favorite activity contributing to a better quality of life.
4. Cost—Your wallet will thank you. Those shoes you wanted or the new high-tech phone you were dreaming of buying may just become a reality.
5. Social Benefits—Smoking is less socially acceptable now than ever. This is reflected in the workplace and social venues with some employers and merchants adopting new practices or strict non-smoking policies. These include specific health plans for smokers, which translate into higher insurance costs, and designated smoking areas, which add a cost in building maintenance for the employer and an inconvenience for other employees.
If you’ve decided to take the first step to quit smoking or are trying to quit again, Dr. Joob advises patients to find what works best for you. “It is critical that patients try any means necessary to quit. They need someone with knowledge of the different resources such as medications, nicotine replacement, counseling, etc. Counseling is critical,” he says.
So maybe it’s time to take the next step and quit smoking because no matter how long you’ve been smoking, quitting will definitely benefit you and the ones you love.