It's never too late to quit using tobacco. While quitting may be challenging, proper preparation can make it easier. Don't wait another second to spare your mind, body, bank account, and loved ones from the harmful effects of tobacco. Start your journey to a healthier you today by taking steps to quit now.
If you don't use tobacco, but have friends or loved ones who do, you can still make a big difference in helping them be a quitter. Just let them know you're there for support and encouragement.
One in three U.S. cancer deaths could be avoided if people didn't smoke. Here's what is at risk to your body—and your life—when you use tobacco:
Smoking increases your blood pressure, in turn putting stress on your heart and weakening it over time. Restricting blood flow and a higher risk of blood clots are other dangers of smoking, as it can thicken your blood with cholesterol and fatty deposits that make your blood vessels narrower. Smoking raises your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death in the U.S.) and stroke two to four times, according a recent Surgeon General's report.
Smoking can cause swelling in your lungs and limit airflow, making it hard to breathe. As the airways and air sacs in the lungs lose their ability to expand and collapse, the airways produce extra mucus that can slowly clog the lungs. Through the years, smoking causes permanent lung damage, which can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)—the third leading cause of death in the United States. Not to mention, cigarette smoking is responsible for most cases of lung cancer.
Smokeless tobacco—such as chewing tobacco—can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas. Smokers in general have more oral health issues, including mouth sours, ulcers, gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, and cancer of the mouth.
Smoking can deprive your skin of oxygen and nutrients, making it look dry, grayish, and wrinkled around your mouth and eyes—adding years to your face.
The hardest part of quitting tobacco use is oftentimes breaking the addiction. More Americans are addicted to nicotine in tobacco than any other drug and can be as addictive as heroin. The brain creates extra receptors for nicotine and develops nicotine withdrawal if it stops receiving the chemical. Withdrawal can result in you craving nicotine and feeling anxious or irritable.
Cigarette smokers have a 25 times greater chance of developing lung cancer than non-smokers and smokers tend to die earlier than the average person. Take care of yourself so that you can stick around for those you love. When you stop smoking, it also protects everybody around you from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
The average pack of cigarettes in the United States costs around $6.50, according to the American Cancer Society. So, smoking a pack a day is like throwing more $2,300 down the drain each year. In ten years, that's more $23,000—enough to buy a new car—up in smoke.
In addition to diminishing your overall health, smoking is linked with absenteeism—frequently being away from work—along with your higher health care utilization and costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports tobacco use causes at least $96 billion a year in direct medical costs and another $97 billion annually in lost productivity due to sickness and premature death. In general, smokers tend to be less productive at their jobs than former smokers and nonsmokers.
When you stop smoking, it greatly reduces your risk for many diseases and early death. Visit the "5 Tips to Quit" interactive slideshow on the top right of you're the webpage to learn how you can start your journey toward a tobacco-free you today.
The Thursday before Thanksgiving marks this year's Great American Smokeout, so plan ahead to be ready to quit — at least for the day. More than 36 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Tobacco smoke is composed of 4,000 chemicals, approximately 43 of which can cause cancer. Spare yourself from inhaling this deadly combination of toxins.
The Smokeout is a great opportunity to triumph over addiction by going smokefree and helping others do the same. No matter why you choose to quit — for your family, for your friends, for the environment, or for yourself — you are making the right decision.
Make this day your first day — of many — free from smoking and tobacco. Don't delay; get help quitting now.
Your agency may provide free one-on-one support to help you quit. Simply visit OPM's guide to find out how to access your service.