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Noxious habit is linked to one out of every five deaths. page 2
Despite all the warnings, lots of people still smoke. Why?


Date published: 4/1/2011

continued

For a Virginian who smokes one pack per day, quitting smoking means $1,800 saved every year.

Itís a bargain, at a few hundred dollars, to buy the medications that help you quit smoking. (See the sidebar below for some ways to get help quitting.)

The personal savings from quitting pale in comparison with the societal costs of smoking. It is estimated that the U.S. pays $100 billion a year to care for smoking-related illnesses. Thatís some serious walking-around money!

THE FIRST 12 HOURS

If you quit smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood will return to normal in 12 hours. Within months, you should cough less and breathe easier.

Within one year, your risk of heart disease will be cut in half compared with those who continue to smoke. Within 10 years, your risk of lung cancer will be cut in half compared with smokers.

Now that I have convinced you to quit, grab a calendar and pick a quit date. Throw out all your cigarettes, matches and lighters on your quit date. Tell your family and friends you are quitting.

Consider talking to your doctor about prescription medicines that can help, or buy over-the-counter nicotine gum or nicotine patches to blunt your cravings. Buy some sugar-free lollipops or gum to use any time you think about picking up a cigarette.

And consider contacting a support organization listed in the sidebar.

Make your plan to quit today, and you wonít smell like an ashtray or have yellow teeth or that sexy cough anymore, nor will you poison everyone around you with radiation-laden, chock-full-o-arsenic secondhand smoke.

Dr. Christopher Lillis is an internist

with Chancellor Internal Medicine

in Fredericksburg. He can be reached at healthyliving@freelance star.com.


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Here are some resources you can reach out to for support with quitting smoking: -- Mary Washington Hospital Support Group: 540/741-2150 -- Virginia Department of Health: 800-Quit-Now (800/784-8669) -- nicotine-anonymous.org -- smokefree.gov -- trytostop.org