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Smoking cessation, commonly known as quitting smoking, is a difficult challenge but perhaps one of the best things smokers can do for themselves, their health, and their family and friends.
The rewards of successful smoking cessation are many and include a longer life. This is because one in three smokers dies early due to diseases that can result from smoking, such as emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the American Lung Association. Smoking cessation significantly decreases the risk of developing these serious pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.
Smoking cessation improves the health of the lungs and increases respiratory capacity. This is the ability to take in oxygen, and people who quit smoking quickly experience less shortness of breath with activities and exercise and often say they fell less fatigued and have more energy. Another important benefit of smoking cessation is the improvement in vital signs, including decreased blood pressure and pulse, and an increase in oxygen in the blood. The amount of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that results from smoking, also drops in the blood after smoking cessation.
Because smoking constricts blood vessels and negatively affects circulation, smoking cessation is very beneficial for people who have other serious diseases, such as diabetes, which also damage blood vessels. Smoking also complicates asthma, raises cholesterol, and can lead to life-threatening blood clots in women who take oral contraceptives (The Pill). Smoking also increases the risk for many cancers, including lung cancer, throat cancer, and mouth cancer.
Other benefits of smoking cessation include improved circulation and warmer hands and feet, decreased coughing and sinus congestion, fewer colds and respiratory infections, and an improved ability to smell and taste. Smoking cessation can also enhance appearance by improving coloring and texture of the skin and lowering the risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, yellow teeth, and bad breath.
Current research has found the people exposed to second-hand smoke are also at risk for developing diseases related to smoking. Smoking cessation can significantly reduce this risk for the family and friends of smokers.
People attempting smoking cessation experience a variety of symptoms due to the effects of nicotine addiction and nicotine withdrawal. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of smoking cessation.
There are many treatments and products available to help people with smoking cessation. These include nicotine replacement therapy and supportive behavior changes programs. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of smoking cessation. ...more »
When smokers try to quit smoking, they often experience symptoms of nicotine addiction and nicotine withdrawal. These include mood swings, dizziness, constipation, sleep disturbances, and headache. They can also include fatigue, irritability, anxiety, carvings for tobacco, hunger, tremors, and difficulty concentrating. The symptoms of ...more symptoms »
Smoking cessation is very difficult due to the highly addictive nature of the chemical nicotine found in cigarettes. Smoking cessation usually takes a combination of perseverance, a multifaceted plan, and the support of the people close to the smoker. It is not unusual for it to take several or many attempts before a smoker is able to permanently quit smoking.
Nicotine replacement therapy ...more treatments »
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