Smoking is responsible for nearly half a million deaths each year in this country. There's no denying its detrimental effects. The body of scientific knowledge about the addictive properties of tobacco and its health risks is far greater today than it was even a generation ago. Smoking poses numerous health risks to smokers including cancer, heart disease and chronic lung disease.
Non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke are also at risk for a number of health conditions, some serious. Women who smoke have a higher incidence of premature and low birth weight babies. Children exposed to second-hand smoke have higher rates of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, allergies and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Despite the consequences, millions of people continue to smoke. Many do so because they simply enjoy smoking and feel the benefits outweigh the risks. Others may want to quit, but because of the addictive nature of tobacco, struggle to make it happen. Success may require several attempts and there are cessation aids and people who can help. Nicotine replacement treatments such as gums, patches, prescription medications and inhalers, and smoking cessation counseling are options to consider.
The benefits of quitting tobacco products are immediate and long lasting. Within hours carbon monoxide levels in the blood start to normalize and blood pressure and pulse rate begin to drop. Before long the senses of taste and smell become more acute and the ex-smoker's risk of premature death from smoking continues to decline. After 10 years the risk of lung cancer is cut in half and after 15 years the risk of premature death is almost the same as someone who never smoked.
To learn more about smoking cessation call 1-800-BASSETT (1-800-227-7388) or 607-431-5180.