Have you thought about quitting smoking, but haven’t made that tough first step? Take that step today, set a date to quit and start building a plan with your Keck Medicine of USC physician.
Yes, quitting is tough – but with a plan and a strong support network, you can do it. Choose a friend to quit with, or someone to hold you accountable, and check out the resource at the end of this article. Get personalized advice when you request an appointment with your physician.
There are many benefits to quitting:
Smoking dulls and dries out your skin. Skin that’s frequently exposed to tobacco smoke loses its elasticity, leading to wrinkles and stretch marks, especially around the eyes and mouth. Smoking can also cause thinning hair and oral problems, including yellowed or missing teeth. Plus, smokers tend to have larger bellies and less muscle, often connected to diabetes.
Smoking stresses your heart and raises your blood pressure, making it tough to chase after your kids, sprint to catch a bus or make it up a flight of stairs. Smokers’ lungs are often covered in scar tissue which restricts breathing, especially as the lung’s alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged and destroyed by smoke.
Help your (future) family
Smoking can lower estrogen levels, reducing a woman’s fertility and making it harder to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. Among men, smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction and damages sperm – causing infertility or even genetic defects.
If you already have children, they’ll appreciate not being surrounded by secondhand smoke – which causes 7,300 lung cancer deaths among non-smokers every single year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to suffer from asthma and allergies.
Quitting now – no matter your age – begins reducing your risk of smoking-related diseases. In fact, if you quit before age 40, you reduce your risk of dying from smoking-related causes by 90 percent. If you quit by age 54, the risk drops by two-thirds.
Smoking is linked to at least 14 kinds of cancer, plus heart disease, emphysema, stroke and chronic bronchitis. Smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer, the deadliest complication. The more you smoke, the higher your risk. But quitting now begins reversing the damage and risk.
Together, let’s make a plan to quit today.
Build your own quit plan at Smokefree.gov. The interactive tool will tailor a plan based on your own reasons for quitting, your triggers (stress, boredom, eating, socializing, etc), and keep you accountable via calendar reminders, an app or text messages.
Your Keck Medicine of USC physician can be a strong ally in your quit plan. Request an appointment to benchmark your health and access additional support and tools.
The American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention