When Quitting Is Winning
(Family Features) Quitting tobacco is hard, but it’s never too late to quit and begin reaping the health benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Whether you use cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chew or e-cigarettes, all forms of tobacco are harmful and can be addictive. Tobacco products contain several chemicals, as well as a substance called nicotine that stimulates your nerves, increasing your blood pressure, respiration and heart rate.
Tobacco not only risks your health, but also affects your looks and social life. Because tobacco restricts blood flow in the body, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction or the inability to achieve orgasm. Other negative side effects include tobacco smoke, which sticks to your hair, vehicle, clothing and furniture. The residue and smell linger long after you finish smoking.
Conversely, quitting tobacco use has nearly immediate positive results. In an otherwise healthy person, after 72 smoke-free hours, your lungs begin to repair. Between two weeks and three months after your last cigarette, blood flow and circulation improve and lung function increases by about 30 percent, so you’ll get winded less easily and feel less tired. One year later, your risk of heart disease will be cut in half, and 10 years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is about half that of a person who smokes.
Patches and Medications
Counseling and Support Groups
Other support options for quitting include national help numbers and online chat rooms. Free phone, chat room and texting resources from UCanQuit2 can be a useful supplement to personal counseling and coaching. Learn more at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or ucanquit2.org.
In addition, you can find information about support programs in your state at map.naquitline.org.
5 Facts About E-Cigs
1. They are still addictive. While e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, the main ingredient is nicotine – one of the most addictive stimulants available.
2. They contain harmful chemicals. Medical researchers have identified at least 19 harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes, some of which can cause cancer. Studies show a teaspoon of highly diluted “e-liquid” is enough to kill an adult.
3. No regulation leaves plenty to chance. The Food and Drug Administration recently announced plans to regulate e-cigarettes using the same standards as tobacco products, but there’s no official timetable. This means that for now, nicotine levels and “e-liquid” ingredients vary widely from product to product and there is no proof that these ingredients are safe.
4. They aren’t a proven quitting tool. Although some smokers have found that e-cigarettes helped them stop or cut back tobacco use, e-cigarettes still deliver nicotine by inhaling from a cigarette-like device. Experts warn that this can lead to nicotine dependence and even initiate cigarette use in previous non-smokers.
5. Restrictions are widespread. In many public and private places, e-cigarettes have the same usage limitations as tobacco, meaning you likely can’t use them at hospitals, restaurants and many other indoor and outdoor locations that have restricted tobacco use on their premises.
Find more resources to help you kick your tobacco habit from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard, at guardyourhealth.com.
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