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November 15, 2012
Today is the Great American Smokeout

Today the American Cancer Society is marking the 37th Great American Smokeout. You may think this is a well-worn subject, but let’s lay the facts out once again. There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Hazardous ingredients in tobacco include 250 chemicals that are known to cause cancer; numerous poisons; ash and tar; and, of course, nicotine.

Health hazards of smoking include:

  • Increased risk of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of premature death from smoking-related disease
  • Emphysema and other respiratory problems as well as a higher risk of pneumonia
  • Damage to a fetus
  • Health risks to others who breathe secondhand smoke, especially infants and children
  • Lower bone density in women who smoke (osteoporosis)
It’s hard to quit because smoking is addictive; it’s both a habit and a comfort; and it’s associated with other things called “triggers” that make you want to smoke—for example, drinking a cup of coffee, talking on the phone, driving, or taking a work break. But even though it’s hard, the benefits are well worth the effort.

The health benefits of quitting include:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure begin to return to normal.
  • Carbon monoxide levels in blood decline.
  • Circulation improves.
  • Less coughing.
  • Improved lung function.
  • Reduced risk of dying from smoking-related disease.
  • Freedom from addiction.
  • Setting a good example for children.

The financial benefits of quitting are also substantial. For example:
  • Saving a lot of money.
  • If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day at a cost of $5 per pack, eachweek you will save $35 by not smoking.
  • In a month you’ll save about $150.
  • In a year you’ll save over $1,800.
  • In 10 years you’ll save more than $18,000.
  • In 20 years the savings will add up to over $35,000. Imagine all the useful or enjoyable ways you could spend that money!

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