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Stop smoking.

5 reasons to stop

If you are one of the 20 percent of Americans who smoke, there is never a better time to quit than right now. November is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Awareness Month, and according to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoke inhalation is the primary cause of this condition. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of adult smokers say they want to quit. Half of smokers say they have tried to quit in the last year, but only 6 percent were successful. Quitting smoking is a challenge, so if you are having trouble, talk to your doctor about options that may help you.

According to the American Cancer Society, you can look forward to these benefits when you stop smoking:

  • Immediately, your heart rate and blood pressure lowers.
  • Then, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood drops.
  • After only two to three weeks, your blood circulation begins to improve and your lung function increases.
  • One to nine months after you quit, you will experience a reduction in coughing and shortness of breath. During this time, the cilia in the lungs regain function, reducing your risk of lung infections.
  • You’ll also experience some cosmetic and lifestyle improvements, including a better sense of smell and taste, whiter teeth, fresher breath, better smelling clothes, more energy for your daily activities, and your yellow fingers and nails will return to normal.

In addition to these almost instant benefits, within one year your excessive risk of coronary heart disease will be reduced by half. You will also cut your risk of throat, esophagus, mouth and bladder cancer in half within five years. Quitting also reduces your risk of stroke and cervical cancer.

The bottom line: smoking cessation is one of the absolute best things you can do to improve your health.

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