In 1965 before the health risks were well understood, over 40 percent of adult Americans smoked cigarettes. While continued research, warnings, and regulations have decreased these numbers significantly, there are still 36.5 million adults in the U.S. who regularly smoke and more than 16 million people in the United States live with a smoking-related disease.
Smoking remains one of the biggest preventable risk factors in developing a number of chronic or fatal diseases. If you have a smoking habit, it’s likely that you’ve tried to quit in the past and failed. Smoking is highly addictive and the physical and emotional connection smokers feel to their habit can be extremely difficult to break. However, it is possible to quit and 1.3 million smokers manage to do so each year. Here are five reasons why you should stop smoking today.
Reasons to Stop Smoking
For your Health
Smoking cigarettes harm overall health and is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Smoking causes cancers of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, stomach, lung, and esophagus and is also a cause of acute myeloid leukemia. Smoking also leads to heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and COPD. An estimated 438,000 people in the United States will die each year because of smoking cigarettes and millions more will live with chronic diseases that impact their quality of life. Nicotine addiction caused by smoking can also lead to long-term chemical changes in the brain that are similar to what is seen in heroin or cocaine addicts.
Fortunately, many of the health risks of smoking begin improving soon after you quit. If you quit at age 30, your chance of dying from a disease caused by smoking is reduced by 90 percent. If you quit at age 30, your chance is reduced by 50 percent. As soon as you quit, you will notice you start breathing easier, have more energy, and feel healthier overall. These health benefits will continue to improve the longer you remain a non-smoker.
For your Bank Account
Smoking is not an inexpensive habit and it continues to get more expensive as the government increases taxes on tobacco and the price of cigarettes rises. If you smoke a pack a day, you probably spend more than $15,000 a year on cigarettes. To determine how much you personally spend on smoking, keep track of what you spend in a week and then multiply it by 52. You may be surprised to see what an impact it has on your finances.
In addition to the hard costs of the drug, you will also pay more for health and life insurance if you are a smoker and will likely face more health care costs when you have smoking-related illnesses.
For your Appearance
Smoking is a dirty habit and it has numerous negative effects on your appearance. When you smoke, it makes your breath, hair, and clothes smell bad, stains your teeth and causes your fingers and fingernails to appear yellow. Smoking can also lead to tooth loss and is a leading cause of premature wrinkling of the skin. Researchers have also found a correlation between smoking and gray hair due to chemicals in cigarettes damaging the hair follicles and blood vessels that supply them. Not only does smoking increase your chances of prematurely gray hair, but it also makes hair more brittle and dull. When you quit, many of these physical signs will improve within a couple of weeks.
For Those You Love
Smoking not only hurts you, but it also has a negative impact on those closest to you. Babies of smoking mothers have a higher chance of developing asthma and smoking is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and low birth weight. Children raised in a smoking household have higher percentages of colds, ear infections, breathing problems, and bronchitis. Smoke can also cause nausea, eye irritation, and headaches in those individuals exposed to it.
Smoking parents also set a precedent for their children. Studies have shown that children of smokers are almost twice as likely to become smokers themselves. If you won’t stop smoking for yourself, think about those you love the most and what it would mean for them if you stopped the habit today.
For your Career
Smokers tend to take four or more smoke breaks a day, which can amount to an hour or more of time they do not spend working. Smokers are also more likely to call in sick to work. Employers are likely to consider smoking when evaluating employees for promotions or raises. Non-smokers are also 25 percent more likely to find a job than their smoking counterparts.
Ways to Stop Smoking
There are a number of stop smoking aids available that can help you kick the habit today. When you work with a stop smoking professional, they may suggest one or more of the following:
Changing habits is very important in the smoking cessation process. Sugar-free gum or candies, aromatherapy, devices to fidget with, and reducing everyday temptation by avoiding places where others smoke are just a few adjustments a smoker can make to increase their odds of quitting.
Stop smoking hypnosis
Hypnosis can be a powerful tool to help change the way you think about smoking and to address deep-seated connections to cigarettes. If you choose to pursue hypnosis, make sure you choose a professional who has experience in smoking cessation for the best results.
Teaching a smoker on how to change habits and thoughts is an important part of the stop smoking process. Quitting can be very difficult emotionally as well as physically and can lead to overpowering cravings, anxiety, and depression. A trained counselor may suggest nicotine patches or gum help with immediate cravings while he or she works with you to change your thought patterns and behaviors.
Smoking is a habit that has hundreds of negative consequences. Those who smoke are less healthy, spend more money, and put their loved ones at risk. Quitting smoking is not an easy process, but it is well worth it. If you have questions about how to stop smoking or would like to speak with a trained smoking cessation professional, please reach out today.