You know all the reasons you should quit smoking. Maybe you’ve already tried to quit, but you’re not there, yet. Did you know that the more resources and support you use, the greater your chance of succeeding?
Seventy percent of smokers want to quit. Trying to go it alone, only about 5 to 7 percent of people succeed. With medical management, the success rate goes up significantly.
Why Is It so Hard to Quit?
It’s more than a matter of will power. Smoking is a chronic illness that involves a physical addiction and a powerful emotional addiction. Together, these powerful addictions are tough to overcome.
To quit, both types of addictions, as well as other issues, need to be addressed. For instance, many smokers don’t realize they may already have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, the two forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Loss of some lung function may not have symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, a person may have lost half of his or her lung function.
How Quit Plans Can Help
The most effective quit plan is personalized, involving education, counseling and often, medicines.
- Education — includes information about the addiction of smoking and health conditions that are worsened by smoking. People also learn tips to help prevent weight gain and identify the best techniques for dealing with a smoking addiction.
- Counseling — often needed to address the behavioral aspects of smoking and identify and overcome potential roadblocks to successful quitting.
- Medical management — most people who are addicted to cigarettes need medication to quit smoking. Medical management involves assessing lung function, treating lung damage from smoking and providing nicotine replacement/addiction therapies.
Quitting has Immediate Benefits
Did you know that health and other benefits start right after you quit smoking? Here are just a few “after you quit” health milestones:
- At 20 minutes: Heart rate and blood pressure drops.
- At 12 hours: Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- At two weeks to three months: Circulation improves; lung function increases.
- At one to nine months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease due to better lung function. Risk of lung-related infection is reduced.
- Over the first year of quitting, energy level increases, breathing becomes easier and sense of taste and smell return.
- At one year: Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of an active smoker’s.
- At two to five years: Stroke risk can fall to that of a nonsmoker.
- At five years: Oral, throat, esophageal and bladder cancer risks are cut in half compared to active smokers. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a nonsmoker.
- At ten years: Risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of an active smoker. Risk of larynx (voice box) cancer and pancreas cancer decreases.
- At 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker’s.
Need more motivation?
- Over time, you can get back years of life that would otherwise be lost if you keep smoking. By quitting, you’ll reduce your risk of diabetes, and help your heart, lungs and blood vessels work better.
- You’ll save money. Start out by figuring out how much you spend. Multiply your smoking costs per year by the number of years you’ve been smoking. You may be surprised to find out how much money you could be saving.
- You will reduce risk for family members. Smoking hurts those around you. Children who breathe second hand smoke are more likely to develop bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections.
Worried About Lung Cancer Risk?
Lung cancer accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths and is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women.
Lung cancer screening can find cancer early – when there is a better chance of treating it successfully. If you are between the ages of 55 and 77 and are a current smoker or have quit in the past 15 years, you may be a screening candidate. Learn more.
Commit to Quit Smoking
Ready to give it a try? Remember, you don’t have to do it alone – and your chance of success is much better with a quit plan.
With many convenient locations, Froedtert & MCW primary and specialty care providers are committed to helping you quit smoking. Find a doctor: 1-800-DOCTORS.
Smoking Cessation Resources
You want to quit. We want you to succeed. Here are additional resources to help smokers kick the habit for good:
- Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line — This free resource offers smokers free medications, live coaching and web forums. Visit the Quit Line for details, or call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or 877-2NO-FUME (en Espanol) to get started.
- American Lung Association — The American Lung Association offers a number of resources to help people quit smoking.
- Exercise — exercise is an important part of any quit smoking program. Exercise increases endorphin levels in the brain, which can help reduce nicotine withdrawal and cravings. It’s also an excellent alternative to lighting up a cigarette.
- Family, friends and coworkers — people who want to quit smoking benefit from the support and encouragement of those closest to them.