This segment does not need to be very long — because there is only one thing to say:
If you smoke, you must quit!
Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death, especially as it relates to heart disease. Estimates are that smoking directly causes 400,000 deaths in the United States per year.
And if you need another sobering thought:
Anywhere from 35,000 to 65,000 people die of secondhand smoke per year. Secondhand smoke not only increases the risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer, but also increases the risk of young women developing breast cancer and the risk of pregnant women giving birth prematurely. It also increases the rates of asthma.
Smoking puts you at risk for both the chronic buildup of gunk inside your arteries and for the sudden development of a devastating cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke.
Happily, quitting smoking can result in rapid, dramatic changes in this picture. The risk of heart attack and stroke are reduced within 24 hours of stopping smoking. However, it takes many years of abstinence to equalize an ex-smoker’s risk of developing heart disease with that of people who have never smoked.
The effects of quitting on cancer risk are less rosy. The imparted risk of smoking is cumulative and does not regress even if you stop smoking. If you have ever smoked, you are at a greater risk for developing cancer than you’d be if you hadn’t. The rate of rise in risk declines when you stop smoking, but you can’t erase the damage that has already been done. So ---- The sooner you stop smoking the better!
A multitude of resources are out there to help you quit smoking. From community programs to nicotine replacement products to various medication aids. Set a quit date, meet with your physician to discuss your plan of action and use all the resources available be successful in quitting smoking and staying smoke free. Quit smoking now! Your life really does depend upon it!