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A Smoker’s Choice: A Few Good Reasons for Cessation

December 13, 2013

Originally published Aug. 1, 2011

Why is now the best time to quit tobacco? In the United States, for every person who dies from tobacco use, another 20 suffer with at least one serious tobacco-related illness or disease. 

As noted in the 2010 Surgeon General’s report, How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You, “Quitting tobacco use is one of the most important steps to improving a person’s health and protecting the health of other family members.” 

In the United States, approximately 70 percent of adults who smoke report that they want to quit completely, and millions have attempted to quit tobacco. Tobacco cessation is associated with significant health benefits that improve with time. At any age, the sooner quitting occurs, the sooner the body can begin to heal. 

Tobacco cessation lowers the risk for the development of lung and other types of cancer including: mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancers. In addition, it reduces the risk for heart disease and severe respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death nationwide.

Within one year after quitting, the added risk of coronary heart disease drops sharply. Tobacco is one cause of dangerous plaque buildup inside the arteries. Plaque can block and constrict arteries causing less blood to flow through. This process can trigger chest pain, heart attack or stroke to occur.

Within five years after quitting, the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is reduced by half. Evidence shows that toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage cells throughout the body; these cells can grow uncontrollably as a cancer. 

Ten years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is reduced by half. Tobacco causes most lung cancers and lung disease including: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 

Evidence shows that smokers diagnosed with diabetes also have a higher risk for developing severe complications including: heart and kidney disease, amputation and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage). 

Moreover, pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk for developing pregnancy complications including: premature births, low-weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
There are additional reasons for adopting a tobacco-free lifestyle. 

  • Live to enjoy retirement.
  • Live to celebrate more years with family, friends and co-workers and pets.
  • Live to enjoy a healthier, longer life to watch your children grow and thrive.

Georgia adults who use any form of tobacco or tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco, little cigars/cigarillos, snus/snuff, electronic cigarettes, dissolvables and hookah) are encouraged to speak to their physician, pharmacist and nurse about safe and effective treatment options to assist with tobacco cessation. 

To obtain additional information about the risks associated with tobacco, please visit:
For more information and assistance with smoking cessation or quitting tobacco, the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line (1-877-270-7867) provides free and confidential professional services to adults, pregnant women and teens (13 and older). 

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The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH)’s Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program (GTUPP) is proud to announce that the Terrell County School District in the Southwest Public Health District has joined the growing list of school districts to adopt the “100% Tobacco-Free Schools” (TFS) model policy.

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