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Smoking-related deaths represent 87 percent of lung cancer mortalities, and half of lifetime smokers will die from some tobacco-related disease. Lung cancer risk increases with each cigarette smoked, and tobacco use also raises risks for a number of other health conditions, including other cancers, respiratory diseases, heart disease, and stroke. Research has consistently proven that smoking cessation is paramount to lung health, and smokers who quit are more likely to live a healthier and longer life, while greatly decreasing their lung cancer risk.
- One in two lifetime smokers will die from some type of tobacco-related disease.
- Nearly one in five deaths in the United States is linked to tobacco use.
- Thirty percent of all cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
- Quitting smoking before age 50 reduces risk of a premature death by half.
- Smoking increases risk of 15 other cancers including oral, pancreatic, bladder, kidney, colorectal, cervical, and esophageal cancers.
- Smoking cessation decreases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Habitual smoking reduces a person’s lifespan by an average of 13 to 14 years.
- Nearly 3.3 million Texans, or approximately 19 percent of the population, still smoke cigarettes regularly.
Types of Cessation
- Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine patches, gum, inhalers, and lozenges can all be used to replace, reduce, and eliminate nicotine dependence. All methods provide a variety of levels of nicotine per dose, and users reduce dosage and frequency over 12 weeks or less.
- Nicotine patches deliver nicotine through the skin.
- Nicotine gum and lozenges deliver nicotine through the mouth and may be preferable for those with sensitive skin. Though most nicotine lozenges are sugar free, diabetics should check with the manufacturer before using.
- Nicotine inhalers deliver nicotine through a vapor inhaled through the mouth, which is intended to simulate smoking. Nicotine inhalers require a prescription, but other nicotine replacement therapies are available over the counter.
- Cold Turkey: Smokers that choose to quit cold turkey, or unaided by smoking cessation medicines or nicotine replacement, may quit altogether, while others choose to quit gradually by slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked each day until they are no longer dependent on nicotine.
Tips for Cessation
- Choose A Day: Set aside a day to stop smoking. Some people use children’s birthdays, anniversaries, or other occasions to easily remember their motivations for quitting.
- Make A List: Make a list of all the reasons to quit smoking and make it visible every day as a constant reminder.
- Trash the Stash: Eliminate all cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters.
- Avoid Temptation: Steer clear of popular smoking areas and cigarette smoke when possible.
- Adopt a Hobby: Gardening, yard work, and other hobbies can keep your hands busy to help you resist the urge to smoke.
- Keep Your Mouth Busy: Drink water, chew gum, or snack on fruit or vegetable slices to refrain from giving in to cravings.
- Ask for Help: Call the Quit for Life Hotline at 1-877-937-7848. This hotline is a joint effort between the Texas Department of State Health Services and American Cancer Society.
Sources: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Texas Department of State Health Services