During this past holiday season, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, the cancer is treatable and she will undergo chemotherapy with the hopes of putting the cancer into remission. During a visit with her oncologist, she was told firmly but nicely that she had to quit smoking given her diagnosis and treatment plan. My mother has smoked for 60 years. My mother quit smoking. No patch, no pills, nothing – it took a death sentence to get my Mom to quit.
You know smoking is bad for you (not to mention for your family and even the dog and cat), but you may not know how quickly and deadly it really is. A recent report from the Office of the Surgeon General entitled “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease” reveals new scientific findings about how deadly cigarettes are and how quickly they can damage your body.
Some important facts from the report
- Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic. About 70 can cause cancer.
- If nobody smoked, 1 of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.
- Smoking is one cause of dangerous plaque build-up inside your arteries. Plaque can rupture and cause clots that block arteries. Completely blocked arteries can cause sudden death.
- Teens are more sensitive to nicotine. Set a good example for your kids.
- New research shows that poisons in tobacco smoke harm your body from the moment they enter your mouth.
- The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly when you inhale. These same poisonous chemicals reach every organ in your body.
- Even after the age of 65, quitting tobacco can add years to your life. You will breathe better and feel better.
- Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. There is no cure. People with COPD slowly die from lack of air. COPD includes the diseases emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
- Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, premature delivery, low birth weight infants, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If you are ready to quit, there are many options:
If you are ready to quit, there are many options
- First, speak with your doctor or healthcare professional. They can prescribe nicotine replacement or medication.
- Find a support program. Jefferson offers JeffQuit, the Philadelphia region’s only hospital-based smoking cessation program. People who join a group or get coaching are more likely to be successful than those who try to do it on their own.
- The Office of the Surgeon General has set up a hotline (1-800-QUIT-NOW ) where you can get free advice and support from experienced counselors who will help you make a quit plan that works for you.
So tell us: Are you ready to quit now?