In the US, smoking is the single greatest cause of
preventable disease and death, accounting for over 400,000 deaths per year.
Over half of these deaths are people age 35 to 69 years. The annual
direct cost of smoking is greater than $50 billion.or about 1/10 of all
healthcare costs in this country.
Certainly the public is now more aware of the health risks
of smoking and tobacco companies are scrambling to reinvent themselves as
responsible manufacturers of cigarettes that contain fewer toxins.
Realize that there is no such thing as a "safe" cigarette. "Low tar"
cigarettes developed in the 1970s offer no health benefit. Every puff on
a cigarette contains about 4,000 chemicals - many of which are demonstrably
harmful. New filters and curing processes may reduce carcinogens but do
not address compounds associated with emphysema, heart disease, and
stroke. Instead of looking for a "safer" cigarette, smokers should be
seeking ways to quit!
What can you expect by quitting tobacco?
In your first year as a non-smoker:
1. Immediately, the air around you is no longer
dangerous to children and other adults.
2. By 20 minutes, blood pressure improves, heart
rate decreases, temperature and circulation in hands and feet increase to more
3. By 12 hours, body carbon monoxide levels start
4. By 24 hours, the chance of a heart attack
5. By 48 hours, nerve endings start to regrow;
exercise gets easier; sense of smell and taste improve.
6. 2 - 12 weeks, circulation continues to improve
and lung function increases.
7. 1 - 9 months, fewer coughs, colds and flu attacks
occur; fatigue and shortness of breath improve; lungs increase their ability to
clean themselves and resist infection.
8. 1 year, risk of early heart disease falls by
9. Within 15 years of quitting, your life
expectancy will be comparable to that of people who have never smoked.
In short, Quitters can be Winners! Contact your
health care provider today for help with smoking cessation.
Kenneth S. Wayne, MD, FACP, FCCP
Specialized in Lung Diseases and Sleep Disorders
Internal Medicine - Ankeny Prairie Trail