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Great American Smokeout: Why You Should Quit

quit smoking or vaping

November 15, 2018 is Great American Smokeout Day, 24 hours dedicated to helping tobacco users quit. Smoking is the cause of nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. each year (about 1 in 5 deaths) and over 16 million Americans are living with a smoking related disease. Though the number of smokers has been dropping over the last half century, about 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.

Disease and deaths from tobacco are entirely preventable and once users kick their habit, noticeable improvements begin right away and over time.

How We Can Help

At the Nassif Community Cancer Center our staff provides counseling and behavioral support to help you quit smoking. There are several options, so we will help determine which tobacco cessation plan is right for you. We offer group programs and one-on-one support. Also in partnership with UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital, we offer the Lung Check program for long-term smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 who have smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years or at least two packs a day for 15 years. This test includes a non-invasive, low-dose CT scan of the chest to help assess your lung cancer risk.

For more information on tobacco cessation services and lung cancer screening at the Community Cancer Center call (319) 558-4876.

Benefits of Quitting

When you quit you will notice some of those health benefits very quickly. Other body functions will recover over long periods of time, so the sooner you quit the sooner you will see those improvements in your health! After quitting…

  • Your heart rate and blood pressure will drop in 20 minutes.
  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop to normal in 12 hours.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting your circulation will improve and lung function will increase.
  • In one to nine months coughing and shortness of breath will decrease; cilia will start to regain normal function in the lungs, which will increase the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
  • After one year the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a current smoker. Heart attack risk also drops dramatically.
  • After five years the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after two to five years.
  • After 10 years the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas also decreases.
  • After 15 years the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

Statistics courtesy of the American Cancer Society


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