NEW ORLEANS, LA
For over 65 years, Ochsner has known that tobacco can cause cancer. Its namesake, Dr. Alton Ochsner, discovered the link between tobacco and lung cancer in 1939. It took the rest of the nation another 35 years to recognize the dangers of smoking. Ochsner strongly urges Louisiana smokers to join the American Cancer Societys 30th annual Great American Smokeout, and throw away their cigarettes for good.
The first step in quitting is to prepare for life as a nonsmoker. Remove all cigarette-related items such as ashtrays, lighters, and cigarettes from your office and home. Within the first 24 hours, your body will start repairing itself. Your chances of having a heart attack begins to drop; your blood pressure drops; your circulation increases, and carbon monoxide levels in your blood fall while oxygen levels rise. In 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste will improve.
Quitting isnt easy. The addiction to smoking is similar to that of heroin or cocaine. Since the urge to light up usually lasts a few minutes, its important to practice the four Ds:
- Deep breaths.
- Do something else to get your mind off the craving.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day, especially during a craving.
- Delay reaching for a cigarette the urge will pass!
Most urges are the worst within the first two weeks of quitting, after that, your temptation will occur in situations associated with smoking. Other suggestions include changing your routine. If you light up with a cup of coffee, switch to tea, soda or juice. If you smoke while you watch the evening news, read a newspaper instead.
There are many resources to help maintain a smoke-free lifestyle. Nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges are over-the-counter options, while nicotine nasal spray and other medications are available with a prescription. Toll-free help lines such as the American Cancer Societys (1-800-ACS-2345) and online support are available, as well as some medical insurance-sponsored cessation programs.
Long term benefits to quitting:
- Three months: Circulation will improve and lung function increase by as much as 30%.
- Nine months: Less coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, and reduced risk of respiratory infections.
- One year: Excess risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is cut in half.
- One year: Saved over $1,400; if you spent $4 per pack and smoked one pack every day.
- Five to 15 years: Risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
- 15 years: Risk of death is nearly that of people whove never smoked.
Subscribe to the Ochsner Health System News RSS Feed