The decision to quit smoking is one decision a person will never regret! Smoking causes around 419,000 deaths each year, just in the United States. Quitting smoking cuts the risk of lung cancer, many other cancers, heart disease, stroke, other lung diseases, and other respiratory illnesses. Quitting smoking, while pregnant, also increases the chances of survival for the unborn child. Quitting helps a person live a higher quality of life. Depending on how a person chooses to quit smoking, it can be done in under a month, cold turkey or not.
Smoking harms and influences not just the smoker, but family members, coworkers and others who breathe in the cigarette smoke, which is called secondhand smoke. Beginning with infants and going up to 18 months of age, secondhand smoke is associated with as many as 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia each year. Second hand smoke from a parent’s cigarette expands a child’s chances for middle ear problems, causes coughing and wheezing, and worsens asthma conditions. If both parents smoke, a teenager is more than twice as likely to smoke than a young person whose parents are nonsmokers. In households where only one parent smokes, young people are also more likely to start smoking.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious health problems to an unborn child. Smoking during pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 – 30% of low birth weight babies, up to 14% of pre-term deliveries and 10% of all infant deaths! If all women quit smoking during pregnancy, about 4,000 new babies would live each year. Pregnant women who smoke or are exposed to second hand smoke pass three carcinogens to their fetuses: Benzo (a) pyrene which causes lung and skin cancer; (b) p-aminobiphenyl, which causes bladder cancer; and (c) acrylonitrile, which causes liver cancer. Levels of the chemicals were 4-5 times higher in passive smokers’ babies and 10-12 times higher in the active smokers’ babies than in nonsmokers babies.
There is a financial cost for smokers and nonsmokers alike. Most smokers are well aware of the cost, but to be clear: one pack per day = $1040 a year, two packs per day = $2080 a year, etc. A less known fact is that smoking is responsible for an estimated one in five U.S. deaths and costs the U.S. at least 97.2 billion each year in tobacco-related health care costs and lost productivity. The cost of treating smoking-related diseases and lost productivity amounts to $2.59 for each pack of cigarettes sold in the U.S.
Quitting smoking makes a difference right away. Food tastes and smells better, bad breath and coughing virtually disappears. This happens for men and women of all ages, even those who are older. It happens for healthy people as well as those who already have a disease or condition caused by smoking. Quitting smoking cuts the risk of lung cancer, many other cancers, heart disease, stroke, other lung diseases, and other respiratory illnesses. Saving money and enjoying a better, healthier quality of life are all part of quitting smoking.
Setting a date for quitting furnishes a deadline to work with and helps set a routine up to help stop. Things are easier to do when the support and help of others is readily at hand. Change smoking routines, keep cigarettes in a different place. Smoke only in certain places, such as outdoors. When the urge to have a cigarette is apparent, wait a few minutes. Then, try to think of something to do instead of smoking, chew gum or drink a glass of water.
No matter how old a person is or how long they have been smoking, it is never too late to stop. Quitting helps save money; this is beneficial to the quitter. They would be able to buy things they never thought possible. Quitting smoking while pregnant gives the baby a better chance of living and a better life. Not only is the mother saving her life, but also she is taking the first step in protecting her child’s life. After a person stops smoking, they can live a better and healthier life.