2014: A good year to stop smoking

quit smokingFor many people who smoke, the arrival of a new year brings added resolve to quit their tobacco habit. If you’re one of those people, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’Be Tobacco Free program wants you to know about all the good things you can look forward to in a No Smoking Here year.

The health benefits of making that last cigarette your last cigarette will kick in so quickly that you may not even notice them. Other effects will become apparent in a short while.

For example, within:

  • 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease.
  • 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop to normal.
  • 3 months: Your circulation and lung function will have improved.
  • 9 months: You’ll be coughing less and breathing easier.
  • 12 months: Your risk of coronary heart disease will be half what it was before you quit.
  • 5 years: Your risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and pancreas will drop by half.
  • 10 years: You will be 50 percent less likely to die of lung cancer than if you still smoked.
  • 15 years: Your risk for heart disease will be the same as that of a nonsmoker’s.

These kinds of benefits won’t come easily. Quitting smoking is hard, and you may slip back into the habit a few times before you quit for good.

That’s why it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor. He or she can steer you toward programs that have helped other smokers quit—as well as go over the various smoking-cessation medications available with or without prescription.

You also can sign up for the National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT program, which will send text messages of encouragement and advice to your mobile device anytime, any day.

Learn more about quitting smoking—including how to overcome a relapse—at the Smoking health topic center.

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