We work and play in environments where smoking is now banned, and we are well-versed on the effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke. However, tobacco is still the single most preventable cause of death1 and disability in our country. It is important that we, smokers and non-smokers alike, understand the facts surrounding tobacco usage.
- is responsible for approximately 443,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.2
- causes cancer of the throat, mouth, pancreas, kidney, bladder, stomach and cervix.3,4
- is a causative factor in male impotence5, infertility6, blindness7 and bone loss8.
In light of American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, an annual day of advocacy to discuss the effects of tobacco, Chamberlain College of Nursing Professor Elizabeth Fildes, EdD, RN, CNE, CARN-AP, APHN-BC, DACACD, provides the following tips for those seeking tips to snuff out tobacco usage in their daily lives.
- Build a plan. With the assistance of a health professional, develop an individualized and holistic plan, based on your level of addiction and other factors. Your plan should address your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
- Life balance is key! It is extremely important to understand your very own use and relationship with tobacco.
- Be patient. Quitting tobacco takes time, preparation and support.
- Search for reputable resources. Consider utilizing resources such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s Quit Tips for additional reference and encouragement. Your healthcare provider should also be able to point you to additional tips and organizations.
There are challenges to quitting tobacco, but there’s good news. There are immediate and long-term benefits to quitting smoking:
- Within 20 minutes: Blood pressure and heart rate decrease
- 8-12 hours: Carbon monoxide drops, blood oxygen returns to normal
- 2 weeks to 3 months: Improved circulation and lung function
- 1-9 months: Lungs begin to regain normal function, including ability to clean and fight infection
- 1 year: Risk of coronary disease is cut in half
- 5-15 years: Risk of stroke reduced to that of non-smoker
- 10 years: Risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
- 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is similar to non-smoker
In order to take extraordinary care of others, we have to take care of ourselves too.
Care For You. Find Your Extraordinary.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004 [accessed 2013 June 28].
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010 [accessed 2013 June 28].
5 Feldman, H.A., Goldstein, I., Hatzichristou,D.G., Krane, R.J., McKinlay, J.B. Impotence and its Medical and Psychological Correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. The Journal of Urology, January 1994; 151(1):54-61.
By Jennifer Bouchard
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