Quit Smoking — Your Wellness Depends On It

January 04, 2018
 

About 14 percent of Solano County adults still smoke, despite increased awareness of the health risks associated with the habit.

Smoking kills. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Quitting is not easy because nicotine is highly addictive. The CDC notes that there are more than 5,000 chemical components found in cigarette smoke and hundreds of them are harmful to human health.

Older people who smoke may think there's no reason to give up the habit. After all, hasn't the damage to their bodies already been done?

But “it turns out there's a benefit to quitting even later in life. Researchers have found that older adults who quit smoking had a lower chance of dying in the years that followed than contemporaries who kept smoking,” according to NorthBay physician Loc tan Nguyen, M.D. “It's never too late.”

And the benefits of kicking the habit are numerous.

Dr. Nguyen encourages his patients to consider these facts: As soon as you stop smoking, your blood pressure will decrease, your pulse rate lowers and more oxygen gets into your blood. You will have more energy for physical activity. Just three months after quitting, your circulation will have improved and your lung function will have increased by as much as 30 percent.

You’ll also sleep better. Smokers are four times more likely to report feeling unrested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers.

Without a cigarette, food will taste better, he said, because smoking dulls the acuteness of your senses. And, your teeth will be whiter. The tar and chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products cause the teeth to turn a stained yellow color.

There are financial benefits too — think of the money you’ll save when you stop buying tobacco! There are other ways you’ll save money as well: Many insurance companies offer lower premiums to nonsmokers, you’ll make fewer visits to the doctor, have fewer missed days at work due to smoking-related illness, and spend less on cleaning or replacing burned clothes and furniture.  

“I know it seems impossible, but we have ways of helping folks stop smoking,” said Dr. Nguyen. “The medication and support and encouragement needed to quit is available. It may take two months, it may take six months, but if you want to improve your quality of life, stopping smoking is an important first step.”

 

Tags: Your Wellness

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