Why You Should Kick Smoking to the Curb

Did you know that ac­cording to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking is the num­ber one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide? Not many people can say they do.

As stated on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, in 2011, an estimated 43.8 million adults in the United States were current smokers. Although men tend to smoke more than women, cigarette smoking claims more than 440,000 Ameri­can lives each year.

In addition, smoking costs the United States an average of $193 billion, including $96 billion in direct health care expenditures and $97 billion in lost pro­ductivity. This means that smoking costs an average of $4,260 per adult smoker, per year. Imagine what a per­son could do with that much money, if they weren’t spending it on smoking.

According to the American Lung As­sociation, “cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.”

Not only do cigarettes contain chemicals such as nicotine, which make them highly addictive, but tobacco by itself can have a serious effect on a regular smoker.

As confirmed on the World Health Orga­nization website, “tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.”

Despite these findings however, tobacco still remains very common throughout the world. Although a number of countries have legislation restricting tobacco advertising, regulating who can purchase cigarettes, where people are allowed to smoke, and increasing the cost of cigarettes, people are still giving in to the costly habit.

It is important to understand that even though smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), secondhand smoking can be just as damaging to a person’s health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, approxi­mately 46,000 nonsmokers in the United States die from heart disease each year, along with an estimated 3,400 annual lung cancer deaths among adult nonsmokers. Not only this, but nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work in­crease their lung cancer risk by 20-30 per­cent.

Although some of these numbers can come off as being pretty intimidating, it is reassuring to know that there are a number of resources available to smokers that can help them kick the habit. These resources are very beneficial b e c a u s e not only do smokers become physically addicted to nicotine, but they also link smoking with many social ac­tivities, thus making smoking an even more difficult addiction to break.

As stated on the American Lung Asso­ciation website, there are seven medications approved by the US Food and Drug Admin­istration to aid in quitting smoking. These include over-the-counter nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges, nico­tine nasal spray and inhaler (which are available by prescription), and Zyban and Chantix (which are non-nicotine pills).

Not only are there medications avail­able to help people quit smoking, but there are numerous different types of counseling to help current smokers as well. This in­cludes individual, group, or telephone – all of which have been proven to be effective. Often times, the combination of using a medication and counseling is even more ef­fective than just doing one or the other.

Quitting smoking often requires mul­tiple attempts, so it is important to stick to it. If you truly want to live a healthier life­style, perseverance is key. For many people it doesn’t happen overnight, so keep going!

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