It’s Never Too Late to Quit

According to the American Heart Association around 45.9 million Americans over the age of 18 are smokers. This does not include the alarming number of underage smokers. These people choose to smoke despite the many well known facts published about the dangers of cigarette smoking. For example, you know smoking is bad for you and for those around you. You know it is an addicting habit and an expensive one. You know it is a hard habit to break, especially on your own. You may know these details and more, but did you know that it is never too late to quit!

Here are some of the lesser known goods of deciding to quit:


-         By quitting you can substantially benefit your bank account. For example, if a person smokes a pack per day at $4.00 per pack (this cost can be much higher) that represents approximately $1,460 a year. Over a thirty year smoking history this is $43,800 – the price of a new car.


-         20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure and heart rate lowers.


-         12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.


-         2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your lung function increases and your circulation improves.


-         1 to 9 months after quitting: Shortness of breath and coughing decreases; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain their normal function within the lungs, which increases the ability to clean the lungs, handle mucus and reduces the risk of infection.


-         1 year after quitting: The increased risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker’s.


-         5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is lowered to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.


-         10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is approximately half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, cervix, bladder, throat and pancreas lowers.


-         15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.


According to research, smokers are most successful quitting when they have some type of support such as counseling; nicotine replacement products; telephone smoking cessation hotlines; stop smoking groups; prescription medicine to decrease cravings; encouragement and support from family members and friends; and/or guide books.

An example of an available supportive program is the American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking, which is a smoking cessation program that combines peer support, nicotine replacement and provides coping tools to help you successfully stop smoking. If you are interested in attending one of these programs locally, contact Kimberly Lewelling a Smoking Cessation Facilitator with the American Lung Association at McKenzie Medical Center: 731-352-7907 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The support is there, but smokers themselves have to make a real commitment to kick the habit.