Thursday, July 5, 2012

It’s Never Too Late to Quit.

     Did you know that tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals and, according to the National Cancer Institute, at least 250 of those are known to be harmful? Included among these chemicals are Arsenic, (a poison commonly used to kill pests) formaldehyde, (a chemical used to preserve dead bodies) and toluene (used to make gasoline, paint thinner, and nail polish remover). This is just the one of the many reasons you should consider quitting if you are a smoker. Below is a list of even more ways that you can improve your life by quitting. Some are obvious, while others may be a bit more obscure, but no less impactful.

1. Improve your health in almost every way. According to John P. Reed MD of Smithsburg Family Medical Center, smoking is the “single most important reversible or changeable lifestyle choice that people can make in our society that has an impact on their health in pretty much any way you can think about.” Smoking damages just about every part of your body, from your mouth, throat, and lungs, to your arteries, heart, skin, teeth, and brain.

2. Take fewer sick days. Dr. Reed also mentioned during his appearance on the Health Matters radio show that smokers are much more susceptible to colds and therefore miss more work than non-smokers.

3. Save money. Not only will you experience immediate savings from not having to buy all those expensive cigarettes, but you will also see savings from: drinking less coffee, (smokers clear caffeine from their system 50 percent faster than non-smokers) buying fewer mints or packages of gum to keep your breath fresh, and lower health insurance rates.

4. Fewer dental visits. If you suffer from dental fear, you really should quit smoking. Smoking causes discoloration of the teeth as well as promotes tooth decay, gingivitis, and tooth loss.

5. Little Sally and Spot will thank you. Not only is second hand smoke associated with asthma, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in children, studies have found that it can also lead to mouth, lung, and nose cancer in cats and dogs,

6. Stop the nagging. From the time you smoke your first cigarette, you become the target of friends, family members, strangers on the street, websites, the government, insurance companies, and doctors; all of whom would like you to quit.

     If any of these reasons appeal to you, then it is time for you to seek help. Meritus Health offers “Beat the Pack” smoking cessation classes which you can register for by calling 301.790.8907. In addition, my colleague Anne Gill wrote a great blog post in January about her neighbor’s experiences with quitting. At the end of that article you’ll find quite a few tips for smokers looking to quit.

By: Shawn McNally

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