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Published on July 19, 2022

The Time to Be Tobacco-Free is Now

man breaking a cigarette in two

By Cody Miller, EvergreenHealth Staff Writer

Smoking tobacco has been a popular practice for ages and, despite its adverse effects on our health, it continues to be grown, advertised and sold all over the world.

There are plenty of well-known health problems smoking can cause, including lung cancer and heart disease. Some other life-altering health conditions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you are at much higher risk for if you smoke are:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Eye disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Not only does smoking increase your risk of diseases, but you are also likely to expose others to adverse health effects through secondhand smoke, which contributes to around 41,0000 deaths among nonsmokers and 400 infant deaths per year.

Smoking can also significantly impact your finances, especially as cigarettes become more and more expensive. And these expenses are only in addition to the amount of money you'll likely spend on medical treatment once you develop a smoking-related health issue.

The risks are there, but why is it still so hard to quit?

Smoking is an addiction, and like every other addiction, it changes the biochemistry in your brain. In order to quit, your body has to undo those changes which involves rewiring your brain, and that can be a very slow process. Part of this may be due to the fact that smokers tend to link cigarettes with other pleasurable experiences like a cup of coffee or spending time outside.

It's difficult, but it's worth it.

To quit smoking will likely be one of the most difficult things you do, but it will also be one of the most beneficial things you do for your health. No matter how long you or a loved one has habitually smoked, the benefits of quitting are almost immediate.

Here are some of the virtually immediate benefits to quitting:

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate drops down to a normal level.
  • Within two to three weeks, your lungs improve and your heart attack risk drops.
  • As each tobacco-free day passes, your disease risks become lower and lower.

Ready to quit? Here's how to get started.

No matter how old you are or how long you've been smoking, quitting is likely the most important step you can take to look after your health.

Some options to get going on your tobacco-free future are:

  • Talk to a counselor individually or in a group focused on quitting smoking.
  • Get coached confidentially for free through the "quitline" at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  • Browse some free online resources to guide yourself through quitting.
  • Consider swapping cigarettes with nicotine-replacement therapy, which comes in the form of gum, patches and even nasal sprays.

EvergreenHealth's Smoking Cessation program also offers a focused, one-on-one approach to help you.

Our Smoking Cessation providers are clinical pharmacists who focus on wellness programs and have specialized training in smoking cessation therapies.

You will need a physician referral to enroll in the Smoking Cessation program. Once we have received a referral from your physician, we will contact you to schedule your first appointment.

Download our referral form for smoking cessation

Your visit with a pharmacist is typically covered by insurance, but you will want to verify this coverage with your individual health plan.

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