smoking cessation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. In fact, nearly a half million deaths-or 1 in 5 deaths-is attributed to smoking each year.

Smoking affects the entire body and is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smokers are at at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, for respiratory disease and for cancer in many parts of the body.

People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death. In fact, when you stop smoking, your health begins to improve. Consider these health benefits that occur when you stop smoking:

After 20 minutes, blood pressure drops to the same level as before your last cigarette. Pulse rate slows to normal and circulation improves.

After eight hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to normal. Blood now carries a normal amount of oxygen.

After 24 hours, the chance of a heart attack decreases.

After 2 weeks to 3 months, circulation improves and lung function increases up to 30 percent. Walking and physical activity is easier.

After one to nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath all decrease.

After one year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.

After five to 15 years, stroke risk is cut to that of a non-smoker. The risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker after 15 years of quitting.


Explore the links at left to learn more about smoking and how you can quit.