Have you tried, or thought about, quitting smoking? From watching different family members try to quit in the past, I know how difficult it can be. Even though there are other treatments to help people quit smoking, such as vaccines and acupuncture, it still takes a lot of strength and determination to quit. I was so excited and relieved when my dad quit smoking years ago because I knew he would be able to live a healthy life to the fullest.
Even though he did overcome his nicotine addiction, my dad had many failed attempts beforehand. Quitting can be a lot easier if you have support from those around you and if you’re educated about why quitting is so important. Knowing the basic facts about the dangers of smoking should make any smoker want to quit. Smokers are more likely to suffer from:
- Shorter lifespan: Smokers die an average of 13 to 14 years sooner than non-smokers with similar lifestyles. The sooner you quit, the greater your chance of living a longer, more fulfilling life.
- Cancer, heart attack, and stroke: Within two years of quitting, your risk of heart attack can be cut in half and your risk for developing other diseases decreases gradually over time. Not only are smokers more likely to get lung cancer, but also cancers of the voice box, mouth, throat, esophagus, intestines, bladder, kidney, and pancreas.
- Fertility and/or pregnancy problems: Women who smoke generally take longer to become pregnant and women who smoke throughout their pregnancy are at risk for problems such as giving birth to babies early with a lower birth weight, miscarrying, and giving birth to a child with learning, behavioral, or emotional problems.
In addition to your own health risks, smoking around others, especially children, is very dangerous. Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Middle ear infections
If you want to quit smoking, some helpful tips are to stay away from cigarettes altogether, make a list of the reasons you want to quit, stay determined, and seek help if needed.