Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation!

Breaking free from nicotine dependence is not the only reason to quit smoking. Cigarette smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (i.e., cause cancer). Cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, numerous diseases, and death.

Fortunately, people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.

Smoking cessation is associated with the following health benefits:
- Smoking cessation lowers the risk for lung and other types of cancer.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Coronary heart disease risk is reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation.
- Smoking cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Smoking cessation by women during their reproductive years reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Methods to Quit Smoking: Effective treatments that can increase the chances of successful cessation include the following:
- Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance about quitting)
- Counseling (e.g., individual, group, or telephone counseling)
Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors)

Cessation medications found to be effective for treating tobacco dependence include the following:
- Over-the-counter and prescription nicotine replacement products (e.g., nicotine gum, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge, or patch)
- Prescription nonnicotine medications, such as bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).

The combination of medication and counseling is more effective for smoking cessation than either medication or counseling alone.

So go right ahead, give yourself a chance to QUIT SMOKING!

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