Quitting Smoking

Do you want to be an ex-smoker?

Patches, gum, drugs and “cold turkey” are some of the methods many used to quit the smoking habit. Quitting is tough, but it is worth the effort. It can decrease your risk and that of loved ones around you, for lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder and cervical cancers. It also lowers your risk for other major diseases including coronary heart disease and stroke. Here are some statistics on what happens to your body after you quit smoking:

  • Within 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette your heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal, and your body temperature of hands and feet return to normal.
  • Within 8 hours your oxygen level in your blood returns to normal and the carbon monoxide levels drop to normal.
  • Within 24 hours your risk for a heart attack decreases.
  • Within 48 hours your nerve endings start re-growing and your ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
  • Within 2 weeks to 3 months your circulation improves and walking becomes easier. Your lung function also increases up to 30%.
  • Within 1 to 9 months coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decreases. The cilia in your lungs re-grow which increases your ability to handle mucus and clean your lungs. This decreases your risk of infections and increases your overall energy.
  • Within 1 year the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • Within 5 years lung cancer death rate for the average former smoker of 1 pack per day.
  • Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Risk of oral cancer is half that of a smokers.
  • After 10 years lung cancer death rate is similar to that of non-smokers, precancerous cells are replaced, and the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
  • After 15 years risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

Here are just a few diseases and problems caused by nicotine: cancer of the bladder, increased risk for osteoporosis, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, chronic bronchitis, decreased taste, bleeding and receding gum lines, foul breath, staining of teeth, tooth decay, oral cancer, decreased sex drive, increased impotence in males, increased risk of cervical cancer in women, infertility, earlier menopause, reduced hunger, increased adrenaline production, heart rate increase of 15-20 beats per minute, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer of the throat, larynx, and esophagus. (American Cancer Society, Centers for disease control and Prevention.)

There is a convenient and free resource in Illinois to help you quit the smoking or chewing tobacco habit. Call 1-866-QUIT-YES. People who quit regardless of age live longer than people who continue to smoke. An average 44.7 million adults are former smokers in the United States. You can quit too! Pick a date today, tell your friends you are going to quit, develop a plan for quitting, print the statistics above and keep them in a place you will see them frequently; ask for help if you need it – the Campus Health Service has some good ideas. Don’t forget, November 16th is the “Great American Smoke Out” A great time to try a day without the nicotine!

The UIS Campus Health Service is here to help you as well, call 206-6676 for an appointment today.

Questions? Call
UIS Campus Health Service (217)206-6676