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Up in Smoke

Girl breaking cigarettes to stop smokingFrom your heart and lungs to your brain and gums, lighting up has serious health hazards. November 16 is The Great American Smoke Out. Renew your commitment to feeling great and living happy by kicking cigarettes to the curb.

It’s no secret that smoking can cause heart disease and lung cancer. But, you may not realize it can also harm many other parts of your body, including your:

  • Bones and Joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and broken bones plague smokers more than nonsmokers.
  • Brain. Smokers are three times more likely to have a stroke than nonsmokers. You’re also more likely to have high blood pressure, which can lead to a brain aneurysm.
  • Digestive system. Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer are just a few of the digestive conditions more common in people who smoke. Smokers are also 35% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, which affects the liver and pancreas.
  • Eyes. Smoking doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration, an eye disease that makes it difficult to read, write and see other people’s faces. Smoking also triples your risk of developing cataracts, which cause blurry vision.
  • Skin. Smoking ages your skin by 30 years, and you can’t reverse the damage. It also increases your risk of getting skin cancer.
  • Teeth and Gums. If you smoke, expect to make more trips to the dentist to battle gum disease and cavities. Smoking also causes oral cancer, mouth sores, sensitive and bleeding gums, painful chewing and bad breath.

Be a Quitter

  • Decide why you want to quit smoking.
  • Set a quit date. (Psst … November 16 is The Great American Smokeout! #GASO)
  • Tell your friends and family about your goal.
  • Start a hobby to take the place of smoking.
  • Avoid triggers that make you smoke.
  • Talk with your doctor about the nicotine patch and smoking cessation prescriptions.

More Resources

In addition to the Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society offers many smoking cessation resources. Even if you quit smoking for just one day, you take a big step toward a healthier lifestyle and lower your risk of cancer.

Of course, there are apps to help you stop, too. If that’s more your style, check out The Best Quit Smoking Apps of the Year.