It's never too late to quit smoking and the all benefits are just waiting for you

Thomas Secrest's picture
Quit smoking now
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For reasons that elude me, there seems to have been a gradual reduction in the government’s effort to reduce the rate of smoking in the United States. When I was growing up it was a popular subject of public discussion and news reports. Cigarettes were the target of increasingly ominous package warnings; there were even disturbing videos from beyond the grave that warned of the terrible health costs of smoking.

Now it seems as though we have reached some level of smoking that is acceptable and cost of additional efforts to further reduce the number of smokers aren’t considered justifiable. Although, I’m not certain, I would be surprised if the cost of a single drone wouldn’t cover the cost of a really good ‘Stop Smoking’ campaign for at least a decade or two or four, while not putting the U.S. at any increased risks. No doubt my priorities are quite different from those of the white house and congress.

If this is true it would be a sad state of affairs. Medical study after medical study has shown that even after you have smoked for many, many years, there is a measureable benefit from stopping. Failure to get this message out to everyone is almost criminal. Many people, who have tried to stop smoking and failed numerous times, often give up and assume it is too late to do any good. But that just isn’t true and that message needs to be spread widely. Statistically continuing to smoke is the same as trading months or years off a person’s life and at the same time it may add months or years of poor quality living to a person’s death.

Today many older smokers have comorbidities. Comorbidity means multiple disease conditions. A person might have type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, lupus and kidney disease or hypertension and prostate disease. Comorbidities create greater problems for doctors, if for no other reason than you have to take multiple medications as part of the treatment.

Smoking has the ability to make almost every medical condition more difficult to manage and when this is multiplied by the number of comorbidities the situation only gets worse.

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A July 3, 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on the benefits of stopping smoking on women who had diabetes. They found that “postmenopausal women who had diabetes and had stopped smoking had about a 60% reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared with current smokers…” Even those who had stopped smoking within the previous 3 years showed some, albeit reduced, benefits.

Dr. Juhua Luo, the lead author, noted that “no matter what your age is or how long you have smoked, the risk [of coronary heart disease] goes down in a relatively short time after stopping.”

What about gaining weight?

This was clearly a concern and the study reflected this. The study found that the “the majority of women gained less than 5 kg (or 10 lb).” However, it is important to note that while they did observe that gaining weight, especially in patients with diabetes offset some or all of the benefits, depending on how much weight was gained, they did not try to control weight gain in the subjects of the study.

In reality, a person who works with their doctor to stop smoking will get the benefit of having the doctor also assist with weight management. There is much that can be done medically to assist people in stopping smoking, while helping to prevent the associated weight gain.

The research is there, the medical help is there and the benefits are just waiting for you. It’s really is never too late to stop smoking.

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