The 34th Great American Smokeout

Updated 4 years ago

By- Dr. Jonathan WoodThis Thursday, Nov 19th, 2009, is the 34th Annual Great American Smokeout. Join the American Cancer Society – - use this day to encourage smokers to quit smoking or to outline a long-term plan for quitting. Remember, less smoking = more birthdays!smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of life expectancy smokers who quit at age 55 gain about five years even long term smokers who quit at 65 gain three years people who stop smoking before age 50 can cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke.Other important facts to consider when making your plan to quit smoking:87% of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco. Quitting reduces the risk of lung cancer – - 10 years after quitting, lung cancer risk is cut nearly in half compared to the risk for people who have continued smoking during that time. 30% of all cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US. Tobacco is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths!Are you around children? o Each year, an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections in children under 18 months old are attributable to secondhand smokeo Secondhand smoke significantly increases the number and severity of asthma attacks in children, affected 200,000 to 1 million children each yearWhy quit now?Perhaps you think that if you have been smoking all your life, quitting can’t really help you… Not true!!! What can a lifelong smoker expect in terms of health advantages? 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. 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases. 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease: cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. 1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases. 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.And how significant is the problem in Maine?14% of high school students and 18% of adults in Maine smoke.An estimated 79,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke in Maine2,200 adults in Maine die each year due to diseases attributable to their own smoking.An estimated 27,000 children currently under 18 in Maine will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.Read more about Maine tobacco statistics at:http://tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements/toll.php?StateID=MEMore questions?So is there a safe way to smoke? Are menthol cigarettes safer? What exactly is it in cigarette smoke that is harmful? Is smoking really addictive? What does cigarette smoke do to the lungs? How does smoking affect pregnant woman and their babies? Answers to these and other questions can be found at:http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_2x_Questions_About_Smoking_Tobacco_and_Health.aspSo how can you quit? No one said it is easy, but there are increasing numbers of resources available for smokers committed to becoming non-smokers. Go for it!A good place to start is the “Breathe Easy, New England” website – - check it out and find out how to get help:http://community.acsevents.org/site/PageServer?pagename=C_NE_GASO_homepageThursday, November 19, 2009American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout” www.cancer.org/GreatAmericans


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