There’s more evidence than ever that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health — but ask any long-time smoker and they’ll almost certainly tell you that it’s tough to quit, or to even want to quit. Cigarettes are crafted to be addictive and habit-forming, and no matter how many warning labels or cautionary tales are out there, smokers may have a difficult time overcoming their cravings.
If you’re the type of person who likes to gather a lot of information to fuel your habit changes, you may benefit from understanding just how much you’re benefiting your health by choosing to eliminate nicotine from your life. You’ll need to identify the right type of motivation for you to keep yourself on track, as well as some solid smoking cessation strategies.
Here are four worthwhile reasons to quit smoking this year:
1. You’ll Lessen Your Risk of Multiple Cancers
Cigarettes and all vaping units are packed with cell-altering chemicals, which makes it no wonder that they’re the cause of so many different types of cancer. Although lung cancer is the big one, the CDC has reported that smoking is responsible for stomach, pancreatic, kidney, bladder and cervical cancers as well.
According to Smokefree, within 2-5 years of quitting smoking, your risk of oral, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer is cut in half; within 10 years of quitting, you’re half as likely to die from lung cancer, and the risk of developing kidney or pancreatic cancer decreases.
If those payoffs feel too far away to matter today, how about this: Your body starts to repair itself within 20 minutes of the last cigarette you smoked, with the nicotine leaving your system as little as three days. Try to use this as motivation to make it to the three-day mark, and take it one day at a time after that.
2. You’ll Look (and Feel) Younger
Not only will your internal systems benefit from quitting smoking, but you’ll externally reflect the change as well. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause premature aging, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles developing quickly around the eyes and mouth. Plus, the longer you smoke, the deeper you’ll stain your fingers and your teeth, and it can cause lingering bad breath as well. Putting down the pack or vaping pens can help bring your appearance and hygiene to a place you’re comfortable with again.
Quitting smoking not only helps keep these rapid-aging markers stay at bay, it can also return dulled sensations like your taste buds, your sense of smell, and even your energy levels. You’ll look younger, and you’ll feel younger as well.
3. You’ll Save Money — and Time
Cigarettes aren’t getting any cheaper; in fact, in many places, they’re becoming more expensive. Wouldn’t it be great to save that money instead, and not have to constantly budget for your weekly (or daily) packs?
It may not seem like the most costly habit at the time of each purchase, but spending money on smoking adds up fast. If you need some convincing, do some quick calculations to see how much your smoking habit is costing you per month, or even per year. This number alone can be great motivation to quit. (You can also add in the cost of health insurance increases if you want to be extra thorough.)
Also, there’s the undeniable fact that smoking is less and less accepted by society. Fewer employees take smoke breaks, there aren’t as many public areas set aside for smokers, and there are a ton of clean-air bylaws dictating where you can and can’t smoke. The world’s not such a friendly place for smokers these days, which you can now use to your advantage as you start your smoke-free journey.
4. You’ll Be Protecting Your Family and Friends
Your smoking doesn’t affect just you. Whether it’s your spouse, your children, your friends, or even your pets, the secondhand smoke from your cigarette habit can give them health issues too. Everyday Health notes that secondhand smoke contains all the same carcinogens found in the cigarettes that you’re smoking yourself, and it kills about 50,000 people a year, particularly children.
If you’re smoking at home or in the car with children, you could be heightening their risk for lung problems, as well as lowering their immune system’s ability to fight colds or other bronchial problems.
Even if you’re not a parent, secondhand smoke still presents a danger to everyone around you, and it may be seen as a nuisance by others. Keeping in mind that the risks of smoking are not relegated to just you can help you stay motivated, especially if you’re a person who tends to keep habits out of obligation to others. Just think of the responsibility you have to preserve the health of your family and friends.
Quit Today for a Better Tomorrow
Whether you’re motivated by personal health reasons, your family and loved ones, or simply because you’re sick and tired of the habit, quitting smoking is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. But as with any habit, you might find that trying to break it alone is tough. This is the reason that workplace wellness programs and community support groups can be helpful.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a Tri-City Medical Center affiliated provider if you have concerns related to your smoking cessation goals. The Freedom From Smoking program offered through Tri-City Medical Center is covered by most insurance companies. This program can help you get on your quit path now! For more information on the Tobacco Cessation program offered at Tri-City Medical Center, please call Dawn Stiefeld at 760.534.6977.