The importance of the Great American Smokeout
Today is the Great American Smokeout, an annual event organized by the American Cancer Society that encourages smokers to go the distance and quit smoking.
Cigarette smoking among American adults has hit an all-time low, yet 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, according to the American Cancer Society. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., and in addition to cigarette smoking, there are 12.4 million cigar smokers and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes.
“I deal with patients with diabetes that have weakened their systems through smoking,” says Dr. Cedric Coleman, internal medicine physician at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “I let my patients know that quitting smoking, exercising and eating right are some of the best things you can do for yourself. “
Ten times as many people in the U.S. have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the U.S., according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report shares how quitting smoking can benefit one’s health overtime:
- 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 decreases
- One year after quitting: The added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
- Five years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced as compared to a nonsmoker’s just 5 to fifteen years after quitting.
- 10 years after quitting: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
- 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
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