Living tobacco free

Tips to help with quitting tobacco

Did you know tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in the United States? Cigarette smoking can increase the risk for many health problems including cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease and causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year.1  No tobacco product is safe. This includes cigarettes, cigars, hookah, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco. The nicotine in tobacco products is addictive and makes it difficult to quit, but there are many short and long term benefits to quitting.

It's important to know the risks of using tobacco

When used over a long period, tobacco-related chemicals such as tar and nicotine may increase your risk of many health problems. There is a long list of serious health risks associated with smoking, and knowing these may help motivate you to quit.

Smoking may put you at a greater risk of:

  • Developing certain cancers, including throat, mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, and lung cancers
  • Developing lung problems such as chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma
  • Developing coronary artery disease which can lead to angina and heart attacks
  • Having gum disease and tooth loss
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Developing type 2 diabetes

The benefits of quitting tobacco begin almost immediately2

The benefits of quitting tobacco begin almost immediately

20 minutes Heart rate and blood pressure drop
12 hours The carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal
2 weeks to 3 months Circulation improves and lung function increases
1 to 9 months Coughing, sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease. Lung’s cilia return, increasing the body’s ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and fight infection
1 year The risk of developing heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. The risk for heart attack drops dramatically
5 to 15 years The risk of stroke is the same as a non-smoker’s. The risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker’s
10 years The risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of a smoker’s. The risk of developing pancreatic and larynx cancer decreases
15 years The risk of developing coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's

Get ready to quit

  • Talk to your doctor to address:
    • Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs)
    • Prescription Medications
    • Smoking Cessation Programs
  • Pick a quit date and a method. Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment.
  • Recognize and remove triggers. Get rid of cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and at work.
  • Find support. Tell family members and friends of your plan to quit smoking or access one of the many organizations that can help you quit smoking. (Visit smokefree.gov for support and resources)
  • Recognize your progress. No matter how many days it’s been since you quit, each day is a victory. Make sure to reward yourself.
  • Find alternative to smoking. Try toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum, sugar-free lollipops or celery as an alternative. Going for a walk as exercise can improve your mood and stress levels.

Remember if you slip up, don’t give up! Use past attempts as a learning experience and review what worked well and what didn’t. Recommit yourself, re-evaluate your quit plan/ method and reconnect with your support systems.

Footnotes

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.betobaccofree.gov, accessed August 28, 2019.
  2. American Cancer Society, Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time, https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/benefits-of-quitting-smoking-over-time.html, accessed August 28, 2019.

Disclaimers

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended nor should be construed as medical advice. Individuals should consult an appropriate medical professional to determine what may be right for them.