The third Thursday of November—this year, November 20th—is the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society has marked this day to encourage smokers to use the date to quit, or to create a viable plan to quit.
Even quitting for one day is an important step towards living a healthier life. One day? Seriously? What good can quitting for just one day do? Consider these facts:
Twenty minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure both drop. Twelve hours after your last cigarette, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Just those two stats alone are worth giving up the tobacco.
Continue foregoing the smokes, and in 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and you lung function increases. In 1 to 9 months, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease, the cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
Risk of coronary disease dramatically decreases within a year. Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix falls to less than half the risk of a smoker within the first five years.
What really puzzles me is that there are still people who DO smoke. Smart people. People who know they are rolling the medical dice, and still don’t put down the increasingly expensive and dangerous health habit. Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and preventable death in the United States, yet roughly 1 of 5 adults still smokes.
So what’s with that? Let me add my encouragement for you to make this Thursday THE DAY to stop smelling like an old ashtray. In fact, why not get a jump on it and stop smoking TODAY?
You can do this!