If you made a New Year’s resolution this year to butt out for good, you were in good company. According to the Canadian Tobacco Use Survey done in 2010, 4.5 million (15.6%) Canadians aged 12 years and over smoke daily. More than half the current smokers intended to quit in the next 6 months and half of these wanted to quit in the next 30 days. Why quit smoking now?
What are the health consequences of smoking?
Cigarette smoking is associated with all the following:
- At least 14 types of cancers (e.g. oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, trachea & lung, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder & breast)
- Cardiovascular diseases (e.g. coronary heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurism)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- Triggering exacerbations in people with asthma.
In people with diabetes, smoking worsens insulin resistance, promotes abdominal-type obesity, and greatly increases the risk of complications associated with diabetes. Read more about smoking and diabetes complications here.
What are the health benefits of butting out?
Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life.
Here are some of the good things that happen to your body once you stop smoking:
Within 8 hours: carbon monoxide level drops in your body; oxygen level in your blood increases to normal
Within 48 hours: your chances of having a heart attack start to go down; your sense of smell and taste begin to improve
Within 72 hours: your bronchial tubes relax and make breathing easier; your lung capacity increases
Within 2 weeks to 3 months: your blood circulation improves; your lung functioning increases up to 30%
Within 6 months: your coughing, stuffy nose, tiredness and shortness of breath improve
Within 1 year: your risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half
Within 10 years: your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
Within 15 years: your risk of dying from a heart attack is the same as a person who never smoked
Other good reasons to quit smoking:
- You'll set a good example for your children
- Your smoking will no longer affect the health of people around you
- You'll have more money to save or to spend on other things - a pack of cigarettes a day adds up to more than $3000 a year!
- You'll have more energy to do the things you love
- You'll pay lower life insurance premiums
- Cigarettes will no longer control your life
Smoking is not only a physical addiction but also a psychological hold. This explains why quitting can be hard, but it’s not impossible! If you’ve tried quitting smoking before but couldn’t do it, try again. It’s never too late.
Quitting smoking gets easier with practice. Every time you try to quit, you boost your chances of quitting for good. Most people who’ve quit smoking forever had to try 5 or 6 times before they could quit for good - this is normal. To increase your chance of butting out for good, check out my next blog….