For smokers thinking about quitting, now is the time to kick the habit as The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 19.
About 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single-largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, and life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease, but quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90 percent.
Right away you’ll notice several benefits to kicking the habit that include: sense of smell and taste returns to normal; breath, hair, and clothes smell better; teeth and fingernails stop yellowing; damaging effects of premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss cease; and ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).
Quitting smoking also has multiple benefits in the long term, such as lowering your risk of certain cancers and diabetes; letting blood vessels work better; and helping your heart and lungs function better.
Giving up smoking can be hard, but you can increase your chances of success by making a good plan, utilizing available resources and having a good support system.
Some basic steps you can follow to help you quit smoking are:
1. Make the decision to quit — set a quit day, such as The Great American Smokeout and share with friends and family to offer support.
2. Make a plan to manage your day without smoking — create other healthy habits such as exercise, meditation, or participating in other activities that will help you refrain from smoking.
3. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist — smoking cessation counseling or other options may be available to you, such as medication or therapies to help assist you in quitting.
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