It’s not too late to quit smoking, and some benefits are nearly immediate, a range of experts say.
The year after you quit, your risk of future heart disease drops 50 percent, reported the American Heart Association (AHA). “After 15 years, your risk is as low as someone who has never smoked.”
More good news comes from the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department. After you quit smoking:
- 12 hours later, your carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal
- within three months, your risk for a heart attack begins to drop
- in one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker
- in 5-15 years, your risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker
There’s more. The AHA promises:
- Your senses of smell and taste will return
- You’ll breathe much easier
- Your smoker’s cough will disappear
Yet, many of us are still lighting up and the results are deadly. Kentucky links 8,000 deaths annually to tobacco use.
It’s an addiction, not just a question of willpower, St. Elizabeth Healthcare reminds us. But it is the single most important step to improving your health and, because of secondary smoke, the health of your family.
Once you decide to quit, you do not have to go it alone.
- St. Elizabeth offers a free, four-week smoking cessation program developed by the American Cancer Society. Group support, individualized attention and a variety of methods are offered. Information is available at 859-301-5570, or click the button below.
- Quit Now Kentucky is a free service for Kentuckians throughout the state and regional health departments. It includes telephone coaching, internet services and even text messaging support. Information is available at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. EST (7 a.m. to 12 midnight CST) Monday through Sunday or at QuitNowKentucky.org.
- The National Institutes of Health offers a Smoking Quitline at 1-877-448-7848 for individualized counseling, information and referrals.
- Talk to your doctor. Prescription medications and nicotine replacement therapies are available as well as some over-the-counter patches and gum.