The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated May 31 as No Tobacco Day. It is no secret that smoking and other tobacco use are hazardous to your health, but as with any addiction, it can be difficult to break the habit. In 2015, approximately 15% (36.5million) American adults were current cigarette smokers. The aim of this day is to serve as a reminder and education on the exact impact that using tobacco products can have on you and perhaps act as inspiration to finally take the steps to quitting.
About 6 million people die from tobacco use worldwide each year. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of those deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. As a cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke and lung disease, among other health issues, it is actually the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.
There is no such thing as a safe or “light” cigarette. All cigarettes and tobacco pose health risks. The long-lasting chemical changes to the brain from smoking are similar to what happens with drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Other tobacco use including pipe, cigars and chewing also have toxic chemicals and are detrimental to your health.
Making a Change
The good news is that it is never too late to make a change and the damage incurred can possibly be reversed. If someone quits around the age of 30, the chances of dying from smoking-related causes decreases by 90%. If someone quits around the age of 50, the risk is reduced by 50%. Some changes can take effect immediately upon quitting, such as the normalizing of heart rate and blood pressure. Shortly thereafter, the level of carbon monoxide begins to decline. Eventually, circulation improves, the amount of work the heart is doing decreases and taste and smell begin to return to normal. Over the following years, risks of diseases and infertility, as well as impotence, decrease and medications may be more effective. Quitting smoking and tobacco use is not only healthy for your mind and body, but also your wallet and social life.
There’s no time to waste and no time like the present. Make today the first day of your smoke-free life.