If you smoke, you may want to pick November 15 as a deadline to quit smoking! November 15 is the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout. November 15 also marks five years since Adventist HealthCare became a tobacco-free campus for the health of our patients, employees, visitors and the community. Happy anniversary!

Smoking and Health

Did you know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States? Smoking is responsible for about 438,000 U.S. deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And about 38,000 people die because of secondhand smoke exposure. Health benefits can be seen in as little as 20 minutes after quitting smoking as heart rate and blood pressure drops.

Here’s an American Cancer Society timeline of other benefits from quitting smoking:

  • 8 hours after quitting: Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • 1 year after quitting: Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 years after quitting: Stroke risk reduces to that of a nonsmoker’s five to fifteen years after quitting.
  • 10 years after quitting: Lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas also decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting: Risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker’s.

Aside from the cost of smoking to your health, consider the cost of smoking to your wallet. Find out how much you spend each month and each year on cigarettes here.

 Five Years of Tobacco-Free

“As a health-care organization, we have a unique responsibility to lead by example in promoting healthy living,” said William G. “Bill” Robertson, and President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare, when the health system’s campuses went tobacco-free in 2007.  The Seventh-day Adventist Church, with whom Adventist HealthCare is affiliated, took an early stance against tobacco use in the 1800s.

Recent research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found that there are substantially fewer hospitalizations from respiratory and heart disease where smoke-free laws have been enacted. The research involved 45 studies covering 33 smoke-free local and state level laws from countries to the United States to Uruguay to New Zealand. The study found that the smoke-laws were associated with a 15 decrease in heart attack hospitalizations and a 16 percent decrease in stroke hospitalizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention smokers are two to four times more likely than non smokers to develop heart disease. And a person’s risk for stroke also doubles if he or she smokes.

Quit Tips

Most people who have been able to successfully quit smoking made at least one unsuccessful attempt in the past. Try not to view past attempts to quit as failures, but rather as learning experiences. One helpful tip is to let all of your friends, family, and co-workers know of your plan to stop smoking and your quit date. Just being aware that they know what you’re going through can be helpful, especially when you are grumpy.

You may also want to consider joining a support group. Adventist HealthCare holds a monthly Smoking Cessation Support Group at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. The next meeting will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28. Call 301-891-5004 to sign up and take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle!