ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – The American Cancer Society is celebrating the Great American Smokeout this Thursday. Smokers are encouraged to use the 3rd Thursday in November as a date to quit smoking each year.
KPLR`s “Doctor Is In”, Dr. Sonny Saggar, is here today to talk about how quitting smoking will actually help someone`s health.
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Is smoking still a problem in the US?
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, and yet 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — that’s about 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
So, you’ve got three days: perhaps you should increase your desire to quit smoking, so that you can quit this Thursday, or definitely before Thanksgiving!
Can you list some of the health benefits of quitting smoking?
- Smokers often have high blood pressure and high heart rates, meaning less efficient pumping by the heart. 20 minutes of not smoking will drop your heart rate and blood pressure to healthier levels.
- One of the biggest causes of organ damage in smokers is because of an unnaturally high level of carbon monoxide in the blood. This is the same gas that kills people in gas leaks. After just 12 hours of not smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to a normal [non-smoker] level.
- After 1 month of not smoking, your blood circulation and lung function become a lot more efficient.
- After 1 year of not smoking, the risk of a heart attack is less than half of that of a smoker who didn’t stop.
- After 5 years of not smoking, the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut by 50%.
- The risk of lung cancer is halved after not smoking for 10 years.
- After 15 years of not smoking, the risk of coronary artery disease [heart attacks] falls to the same as a lifelong non-smoker!