Helping Kick the Habit
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis. Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts.
Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.
SOME FACTS ABOUT KICKING THE HABIT
- More people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.
- Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, there are benefits at any age. You are never too old to quit.
Reasons to stop smoking
- Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
- Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases.
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
- Most former smokers quit “cold turkey.” Medications for quitting have been found to be effective as well. Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone. If you want to quit, you may want to try some of the following methods:
- Help from your doctor
- Individual, group, or telephone counseling
- Behavioral therapies
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and more intensity
- Programs to deliver treatments using mobile phones
- Nicotine replacement products (over the counter), such as the nicotine patch, gum, and lozenge
- Prescription (nicotine patch, inhaler, nasal spray)
- Prescription non-nicotine medications such as Zyban® and Chantix®
- Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone.