Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death worldwide. It has been inextricably linked to a wide range of serious health conditions – cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory problems, among others. Quitting will dramatically reduce your risk of contracting a smoking-related disease, and can prolong your life.
Why Quit Smoking?
The statistics are chilling: half of all people who smoke will die from a tobacco-related disease. Even if you’ve been smoking for a long time, quitting is beneficial. You will experience immediate health benefits: improved circulation and breathing, a drop in blood pressure, and improvements in your sense of smell and taste.
Long-term, you will lower your risk of developing a variety of different cancers; decrease the odds of heart attacks, stroke, vascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; reduce your chances of developing impotence and fertility problems; and make respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath less likely.
You’ll also be benefiting your loved ones. Secondhand smoke causes health problems for family members, even if they never pick up a cigarette in their lives. Quitting will reduce their risks of developing the same health issues that plague smokers.
Quitting can be a challenge, and many people struggle through multiple attempts before giving up tobacco for good. But the effort is worth it, and any immediate side effects (irritability, weight gain) are minor when compared to the health risks of continued smoking.
While some individuals quit smoking “cold turkey,” others need help. Nicotine replacement products such as patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, and sprays can help with cravings. Many programs are available to offer assistance; these include counseling, clinical interventions, and behavioral cessation therapies. Self-help books are available through libraries and bookstores everywhere. The most effective methods involve a combination of counseling and medication.