5 Reasons You Should Quit Smoking
May 27, 2021
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking affects almost every area of the body negatively, and quitting can increase your longevity by years. These facts alone are enough to get one to consider stopping, but here are some more specific examples of why you need to quit from the CDC.
1. Increased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Lung Cancer
Not only does smoking decrease your overall health, but it leads to 2-4 times the risk of getting coronary heart disease which causes the coronary arteries to become too narrow and deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. Your chance of stroke increases by the same amount for smokers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, strokes also affect the oxygen levels in the blood, but specifically the blood oxygen getting to the brain. When a stroke occurs, the brain is not getting enough blood, oxygen, or nutrients to work properly. It is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Finally the chances of developing lung cancer increase significantly for those who smoke. For men, the increased risk is 25 times, and it is worse for women with an increased chance of 25.7 times.
2. Negative Effects on Teeth and Gums
Your smile is most often the first impression that people have of you, but smoking affects your teeth and gum. It causes tooth decay and loss and increases your risk for gum disease.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that starts as gingivitis before spreading up the gums causing them to pull away from the teeth and cause tooth decay and loss of teeth. It can also cause painful chewing, bleeding gums, and sensitive teeth.
Although proper dental hygiene can decrease your chance of getting gum disease, smoking is still one of the leading causes of the infection due to it decreasing the ability to fight infections.
3. Can lead to Cancer Anywhere in the Body
Lung cancer isn’t only cancer that smoking can cause, because cigarette smoking negatively affects the whole body, it can lead to cancerous cells in any part of the body. The bladder, liver, kidneys, esophagus, and mouth are all susceptible to cancer caused by smoking. Not only does smoking increase the risk of developing cancer, but it also increases the risk of dying from it.
4. Smoking is the Leading Cause of Premature Death
Because smoking affects the entire body, it increases the risk of premature death from all causes for both men and women according to the CDC. Smoking is an underlying cause for more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States alone which is equivalent to every 1 in 5 deaths. These deaths may be preventable if you seek support for quitting.
5. Quitting Will Lead to Risk Reduction
There is hope, however, for former smokers. The CDC reports that the cardiovascular risk of smoking (like heart disease) decreases within one year of quitting. In 2 to 5 years, your risk of stroke is depleted to the same as nonsmokers. After five years, the risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer drops by half. Finally, after a decade without smoking, your risk for lung cancer also lowers by half. Not to mention, the financial benefits that come with smoking from reduced health care costs. Quitting smoking for good is a difficult task, but thankfully there are resources available to help.
The first method to quit smoking is medications. There are nicotine replacement options available over the counter at the pharmacy, or a health provider can prescribe some other prescription medication options as well.
In addition to medication, counseling is also available for tobacco cessation. Like the Tobacco Cessation Coaching Program offered to all Ascension associates which connects you to a certified Tobacco Treatment coach that can help you set goals, develop a quit plan, and manage cravings. This is a six to eight-week program with 5 counseling sessions and long-term follow-up calls for continued support. Not only is this an effective counseling treatment for quitting smoking, but it will also remove the tobacco surcharge from your medical premiums.
To enroll in the tobacco cessation program, first go to join.virginpulse.com/smarthealthwellbeing to create your Virgin Pulse account. From there, you can schedule a tobacco cessation coaching appointment online or through the Virgin Pulse app. You can also call Member Services at 1-888-321-4326 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, for any scheduling needs.
To sign up, call Preventure at 1-855-595-2450, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.