You Can Quit Smoking,Too!
In the summer 2004 issue of Vital Signs
(now AAMC) we ran an article about
quitting smoking that included statistics
from the American Cancer Society about
how your body recovers after you stop
smoking. In early September of this year,
we received the following email from
Sherrie Kibler of Crofton, who graciously
agreed to let us share her email here.
I was cleaning out some paperwork
and came across the little article I clipped
out in your Vital Signs. The article was
‘Did You Know,’ which gave the information
about changes your body goes through
when you quit smoking.
I just had to write to you and THANK
YOU SO MUCH for having that in the
Vital Signs! It came to me two years ago at
the right time. Because of dental issues, my
age (then being 40), and my father’s passing
due to lung cancer—your article
helped me tremendously! I clipped it out
and hung it on my fridge for over a year! It
has been two years, July 13th, now that I
am smoke free!! I have shared info from
that clipping with many people in my life
and online friends as well. Many times I
typed word for word, or copied it to send to
them and some have quit as well. I just
wanted to thank you again for having that
printed. It was an eye opener to see the
changes per the hours, weeks, months and
years! The biggest thing that stuck with me
is reading at the bottom how ‘All benefits
are LOST when 1 cigarette a day is
Sherrie Kibler of Crofton, MD
In a phone interview, Ms. Kibler, who
works from the home managing her
husband’s business, American Tradesmen
Contracting, and has three
children, said she started smoking at 15
and only stopped during pregnancies. She was smoking about a pack a day
when she finally took the plunge.
“I quit cold turkey. It was really hard,
but I kept playing games with myself
after reading those statistics. I told myself
if I can use the first ‘eight hours’ being
smoke free while I’m asleep, then I can
build on that. Once I’d wake up, I’d try
to continue till I made it through the
entire day, then it would add up to two
days, three days and so on. I didn’t want
to start over. I kept myself busy. Once I
made it two days, I knew I could make it
more. I kept telling myself that I didn’t
want to mess up what I’d already suffered
for,” she said. One trick that helped her
was cutting up plastic drinking straws into
cigarette-sized lengths. “I’d put them
in my mouth and breathe in fresh air. I
chewed them. Finally my jaws got so sore,
that I was able to stop that, too.”
Since she’s quit, Ms. Kibler said she’s
got more energy. “My gums are healthy.
I’m not out of breath. I sleep better. Food
tastes better,” she said. “And when I pull
up to the gas station, I’m not spending
another $5 on a really stupid habit!
If you are 50 or older, you may want to consider a
lung scan. YourScan is offering a reduced-rate
screening for a limited time. Call 1-800-223-0403.
Or if you’re ready to quit smoking and need help,
the AAMC Freedom from Smoking Program is
here for you. Call askAAMC at 443-481-4000.
Within 20 minutes of smoking that last cigarette, the body begins a series of changes that continue for years.
20 minutes after quitting
8 hours after quitting
- Blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette.
- Temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
24 hours after quitting
- Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
- Chance of heart attack decreases.
1 to 9 months after quitting
- Circulation improves.
- Lung function increases up to 30 percent.
1 year after quitting
- Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease.
- Cilia regain normal functions in lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection.
5 years after quitting
- Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
10 years after quitting
- Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker five to 15 years after quitting.
15 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
- Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.
Facts about Lung Cancer
- Lung cancer is the most common cancer-related cause of death among men and women. It is the second most commonly occurring cancer among men and third most commonly occurring cancer among women.
- Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are proven carcinogens, while hundreds of others increase the cancer-causing power of carcinogens.
- The U.S. Environmental Agency concluded that involuntary smoking (second hand smoke inhaled by nonsmokers) causes about 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year.
- Men who smoke are estimated to be 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer, while women who smoke are estimated to be 12 times more likely.
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