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It Pays to Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes tops the list of major risk factors of heart and blood vessel disease. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, almost one-fifth of deaths from heart disease are caused by smoking. More than 430,000 deaths every year are caused by smoking.

Smoking also harms thousands of nonsmokers who are exposed to cigarette smoke. When you quit, you reduce not only the risk to your health, but the risk to those you love as well. No matter how long you’ve smoked, when you quit, your risk of heart disease and stroke begins to drop. Over time, your risk will be about the same as if you’d never smoked.

The American Heart Association offers these tips to help smokers quit:

  • List the reasons to quit and read them several times a day.
  • Wrap cigarette packs with paper and rubber bands. Each time you smoke, write down the time of day, how you feel and how important that cigarette is to you on a scale of one to five.
  • Don’t carry matches or lighters and keep cigarettes out of easy reach.
  • Each day, try to smoke fewer cigarettes and skip the ones that aren’t the most important.
  • Set a target date to quit
  • Done buy a new pack until the old pack is finished.
  • Change brands twice a week, each time looking for one lower in tar and nicotine.
  • Stop for 48 hours at one time.

After the 48 hour trial, quit completely. Throw out all cigarettes, lighters and matches. It can help to stay busy and get active, and avoid the things that you relate to smoking.

After quitting:

  • The sense of smell and taste come back
  • Smoker’s cough goes away
  • Digestion improves
  • Energy level improves
  • Breathing improves
  • Exercise becomes easier
  • Your clothes don’t smell of cigarettes
  • You’ll reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, long disease and cancer.