Just as there is no longer any question that quitting smoking is about the best thing you can do for your health, the task itself remains unquestionably hard to conquer. In fact, a recent study found that “only 4 percent of those who attempt to quit smoking unaided remain smoke-free one year later.”
That’s hardly cause for any celebration.
Yet, there is plenty of latitude for hope.
One comes in the form of nicotine replacement therapy, albeit, in a wide variety of forms, ranging from chewing gum and transdermal patches to spray inhalers and lozenges—all of which combined have shown equal effectiveness in smoking cessation efforts. Others swear by acupuncture, herbs, and/or hypnotherapy to curb their cravings for cigarettes. Naturally, no single method is going to work for all smokers. But, given the general consensus that it’s in the best interest of all smokers to stop, there’s plenty of reason to keep trying until the right one does the trick.
The Why is More Important than the How
The latest findings by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities indicate that every smoker who quits could save nearly $10,000 in healthcare costs over his or her lifetime. When you multiply that number by the more than 34 million adults in the U.S. that smoke, the potential financial impact grows exponentially. Still, the struggle to make and keep the resolution remains a personal matter—one directly tied to the matter of your personal health.
Getting Better with Every Breath You Take
Just twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours later, carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal. Within two-to-three months, circulation improves and lung function increases.
Those benefits, according to American Cancer Society, are just the first fruits that come from starting the new year free from cigarettes. Not surprisingly, the good news only gets better from there. Research shows that incidences of coughing and shortness of breath decrease in as little as one month as the lungs regain their ability to process mucus, while concurrently reducing the risk of respiratory complications.
After a year, a newly non-smoker’s risk of coronary heart disease drops to half that of those who continue to puff away; similarly, five years down the road, the odds of contracting cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder also fall by 50 percent. In ten-to-fifteen years, comparable reductions in the chances of dying from lung cancer and coronary disease are also evident.
For the Sake of Old (and New) Times
Not every step along the path to recovery is bound to go smoothly, but starting from a sound home base can make all the difference. Our clinically trained pharmacists can help you come to terms with a smoking cessation program that goes the distance.
In cigarettes, many people see a kind of friend, a well-worn crutch to lean on emotionally for comfort in times of stress or for the company in moments apart from others. That said, most know that “friend” wears out their welcome quickly when they bring a higher risk of diabetes, heart attack, asthma, and stroke to the table.
This year, should you resolve to put aside that “old acquaintance,” let it be forgot … and stay forgotten.