Medical Minute: Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking can be hard, but it’s so beneficial for your overall health. Smoking can cause health struggles like cancer, heart disease, stroke and breathing problems. Quitting helps smokers cut their risk for all these conditions. In addition, ex-smokers have fewer sick days and a shorter duration of bronchitis and pneumonia than smokers do.
Did you know that 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure, pulse and temperature return to normal levels? And after 10 years, your lung cancer death rate is equal to that or a non-smoker and your risk of mouth, bladder, throat, kidney and pancreatic cancers all decrease as precancerous cells are replaced.
Quitting smoking can also save you money. If a pack-a-day smoker pays $6.00 per pack, they will save more than $2,000 per year.
Ready to quit? Set yourself up for success by planning ahead. Pick a day on the calendar and then plan toward that day by:
- Talking with your doctor about possibly taking medications to help you, such as nicotine replacement therapy.
- Sign up for a tobacco cessation support program. OhioHealth offers them at many locations.
- Think about some of the triggers that urge you to smoke – being around other smokers, stress, drinking alcohol – and plan for ways you’ll handle those situations once you quit.
- Leading up to quitting, make small changes -- switch to a brand of cigarettes you don’t like to make it a little less appealing, or smoke with the opposite hand you usually use.
Then, on the day you quit:
- Get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.
- Keep things like gum or hard candy on hand to put in your mouth when you have the urge to smoke.
- Start a money jar with the money you save by not buying cigarettes. There are even apps that can help you track savings.
- Let others know you have quit so they can support you.
If you slip up and smoke, don’t get discouraged. Pause and think what led to you smoking again and learn from it.
OhioHealth offers a free Tobacco Cessation Program at a dozen locations to help you quit and be tobacco-free for life. To learn more, call OhioHealth CancerCall at (614) 566.4321 or 1 (800) 752.9119. Or, visit www.OhioHealth.com/healthwellnessclasses.
If you're attending the Columbus Blue Jackets game on Thursday, November 15, OhioHealth will be on-site as part of Hockey Fights Cancer night. Stop by our booth in the concourse for a photo experience, fill out a battle card to show who you fight cancer for, and be on the lookout for a t-shirt toss!