Heart-Healthy Tips: Smoking Cessation

Thursday, 06 May 2010

You are probably more than aware of the dangers involved in smoking, even if you are a current smoker. Cigarette smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic. Smoking causes one out of every five deaths in the U.S. each year, making it the nation’s leading preventable cause of death.

By putting an end to your tobacco dependence you will be providing yourself with many benefits. Quitting smoking will lower your risk for lung and other types of cancer. In fact, the longer you stay smoke free, the less you are at risk for cancer. It can also improve your breathing, which will allow you to perform better during physical activity, such as your firefighting responsibilities. When you put that cigarette out, you add valuable years to your life. There are also financial benefits to quitting smoking: if you smoke one pack a day at $5.00 per pack, you could save over $1,800 a year by quitting.

While the decision to quit is ultimately yours, there are many resources available to help you when you are ready to take that step. When you quit, you may experience irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite. These symptoms are normal and temporary, and all are far better than cancer or other health-related problems caused by smoking. Here are some tools to help you quit smoking:

  • Visit the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program web site for tips and resources to help you quit.
  • Seek support from family and friends. They can help keep you motivated.
  • Counseling is available. Talking to a professional can help you stay smoke free.
  • Talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare worker. They can help you quit.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) to be connected to the quit-line in your state.
  • Over-the-counter and prescription smoking cessation products have proven to be successful. Consult with your doctor before using these products.
  • Stay positive: no matter how hard it gets, remember that you can do this.

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