Doctor's Advice: Quit Smoking, or Don’t Start – Your Life Depends On It

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Quitting smoking is often is easier said than done. It can be a real challenge to change the habit, or to break the physiological dependency on smoking. But your life depends on quitting, said Dr. Blagev. 

“If you started smoking when you were 10 or 15, and you’re now in your 50s or 60s, smoking has been an integral part of your life,” said Blagev, MD. “Many smokers develop multiple medical issues, including increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, lung cancer, lung disease, or emphysema, to name a few.”

And while Utah is making strides at reducing the number of people who smoke, there is a new threat – electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarette use among Utah youth nearly doubled from 2013 (5.8%) to 2015 (10.5%), and is more than twice as high as adult use, according to the Utah Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s annual report. Nearly one-quarter of Utah students in grades 8, 10 and 12 have tried e-cigarettes.

“If you look at the way e-cigarettes are marketed, they are all about flavorings and slick packages that look cool,” said Dr. Blagev. “Additionally, loose regulations and variability in the content, devices and liquids don’t support the claims that e-cigarettes help wean addicts off of traditional cigarettes.”

Related Post: The Facts About E-Cigarettes

What is the best way to quit smoking? Dr. Blagev recommends that you focus on WHY you want to quit.

According to Tobacco Free Utah: “Research indicates that if you’re thinking about quitting, you may actually overemphasize what you “get” from using tobacco. One effective method for dealing with this is to focus on reasons why you want to quit instead. Take a few minutes and write down 10 reasons why you want to quit. Keep this list in a place you can get to easily. Review these reasons daily. The more you emphasize the reasons you want to quit, the more likely you will not slip.”

Tobacco Free Utah’s website also outlines multiple benefits to those who quit smoking – some of which are seen within the first few days of the last cigarette. 

  • Within 20 minutes: Blood pressure drops, pulse rates drop to normal, body temperature of hands and feet return to normal.
  • Within 8 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal.
  • Within 24 hours: Risk of heart attack decreases.
  • Within 48 hours: Ability to smell and taste improves.
  • Within 72 hours: Breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes relax. Lung capacity increases.

If you do smoke, make the decision today to quit. As former smokers can attest, “it’ll be one of the best life-saving decision you’ll ever make.”