November 15 marks the 37th anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Smokers are encouraged to use this day to make an action plan to quit smoking, or to plan ahead and actually quit smoking on November 15. Quitting smoking is no easy feat, so it helps to do some research on the best quitting method for you and to have a support system in place to make the transition to becoming a non-smoker much easier. The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program within the Department of Public Health has a wealth of resources on smoking cessation, and all GIC health plans have benefits related to smoking cessation methods and programs.
If you’ve decided to use the Great American Smokeout as the impetus to quit, your body will certainly thank you, as the health benefits of quitting smoking are many. Some benefits are immediate, and others occur after you’ve been a non-smoker for awhile, but all of them are reasons worth considering quitting tobacco for good:
- After 12 hours: The carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal
- After 24 hours: Your chance of having a heart attack decreases
- After 2-3 months: Your circulation improves and lung function increases
- After 1 to 9 months: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease
- After 1 year: Your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s
- After 10 years: You risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker’s
- After 15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s
If you are thinking about giving up smoking, I encourage you to join the ranks of smokers across the nation who plan on doing so on November 15.