TODAY, the third Thursday in November, is the annual GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Each year, smokers are encouraged to use this day as a QUIT date, or at least as a day to make a plan to quit. If you have a friend who still smokes, please reach out to them today and kindly encourage them with a reminder that today is a special day earmarked for their health. With this vice, there is NO amount that can be justified as being “good” for you. Tobacco harms virtually every organ in the body. Everyone knows about the cause and effect of smoking and lung cancer, but cigarettes also greatly increase the risk of developing cancers of the bladder, kidney, pancreas, esophagus, throat, mouth, pancreas, stomach, ovaries, cervix and colon. Smoking directly increases your risk of heart disease- both heart attacks and strokes. Obviously it damages the lungs, causing chronic conditions with increasing shortness of breath and lack of energy.
Finally, appealing to your vanity (hey, whatever it takes!)- tobacco stains your teeth and gives you bad breath. And guys, smoking can lead to erectile dysfunction that evenViagra cannot “cure”…enough said.
Tobacco is one of the strongest addictions, and therefore often the most difficult to quit- if you are a smoker, I don’t have to tell you that! The good news is that we have more ways to support you as you quit, and even if you have smoked for many years, quitting now still yields many benefits for your health! Blood pressure and carbon monoxide levels improve the first DAY you quit. In a couple months, both your circulation and lung function start to improve. In just one year after quitting, you will have cut in half your excess risk of heart disease compared to people still smoking. In a decade, your risk from dying of lung cancer falls to half that of a current smoker.
BOTTOM LINE: If you smoke- even “socially”- the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR HEALTH IS TO QUIT SMOKING!!! Talk to your doctor and make a plan TODAY.