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    Learning About Your Health

    Smoking Cessation

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    Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and premature death in America.

    As a tobacco user, giving up tobacco is the most important thing you can do for your health or the well-being of your family.

    Congratulations! You have made the first and most important step to beginning your life as a non-smoker. You understand that you need to quit smoking, and the following information can be used to help you through the next steps in beginning your life "smoke-free."

    Quick Facts About Tobacco

    • An estimated 430,000 Americans die each year from diseases caused by smoking (that’s more than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fires, and AIDS deaths combined).


    • Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in non-smokers and breathing problems or ear infections in children. Secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,000 U.S. deaths every year.

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    Effects of Smoking

    • Short Term:

      • Hair and clothes smell

      • Teeth/Fingers stained

      • Taste buds deadened

      • Reduced sense of smell

      • Increases blood pressure

      • Lungs receive less oxygen

      • Skin wrinkles

      • Bad breath

      • Stuffy nose

      • Throat is irritated

      • Stress on heart
    • Long Term:

      • Heart attack

      • Difficulty breathing

      • Stroke

      • Lung cancer

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    Cost of Smoking

    If you smoke 1 pack/day ($4.00/pack) you are spending $1,460 a year!

    That could buy.....

    • 70 CD's

    • 20 pairs of jeans

    • 148 movie tickets

    • 1 TV and 1 VCR

    • 85 pizzas
    What could you buy with that money?

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    Why Should You Stop Smoking?

    1. Improve my personal appearance by eliminating such things as stained teeth and fingers, bad breath, coughing, and smoking odor on clothes. Prevent wrinkles and keep my skin nice.


    2. Regain my sense of taste and smell, feel more energized and active, sleep better, and eliminate "hairy tongue" and "smokers cough" or wheezing.


    3. Regain control of my behavior, gaining a sense of freedom, and owning myself again.


    4. Reduce health risks, such as the risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. I do not want a heart attack or to have problems breathing.


    5. Reduce risk to unborn children and provide a healthy environment for children and others living with me.


    6. Save money.


    7. Increase productivity by regaining the time I now spend maintaining my smoking habit.


    8. Avoid possible injury or upset to others by such things as smoking in restaurants or dropping ashes on them.

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    Tips for Quitting

    Quitting smoking can be a difficult but very rewarding decision for you and your friends or family. To help you begin living your life smoke-free, review the following tips for success.

    1. Think about your reasons for quitting. Write them down and carry them with you. You can read them every day or when the going gets tough.


    2. Choose a good time to quit and set a quit date. Stick with it. Sign a contract. Announce it to family and friends who support your decision.


    3. Think about when and why you use tobacco. Do you use tobacco for a pick-me up? When you are bored? When you are angry, upset, worried? When you are driving your car? When you are with others who are using tobacco?

      A couple of weeks before your quit date, wrap your cigarette pack with paper, pencil and rubber band. When you smoke, write down the time of day, how you feel, and how important that cigarette is to you. This can help you identify your reasons for smoking.


    4. Have a plan before you quit. If you use tobacco for a pick-me-up, plan to exercise or take a walk instead. When you’re bored, plan to call a friend, listen to music, go for a walk, play with your pet, JUST GET BUSY! When you’re upset, angry, or worried, call a friend, write it down, or talk to someone you trust.


    5. Think good thoughts. “I will do this.” “I’m worth it.” “I’m in control.” “I’m proud of myself.”


    6. What if you smoke after quitting? This does not mean you’re a smoker again – do something now to get back on track. Don’t punish yourself – think about why you smoked and decide what to do the next time it comes up. You’re still a non-smoker.

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    What Happens When You Stop Smoking?

    Your body will begin to repair itself as soon as 20 minutes after you stop smoking. Here is a list of common changes that you can expect.

    20 minutes after last cigarette:

    • Blood pressure drops to normal


    • Heart rate drops to normal


    • Body temperature returns to normal (hands/feet)
    8 hours:
    • Carbon Monoxide level in blood drops to normal


    • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal
    24 hours:
    • Chance of heart attack decreases
    48 hours:
    • Nerve endings start to re-grow
    72 hours:
    • Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier


    • Lung volume increases
    2 weeks to 3 months:
    • Circulation improves


    • Walking becomes easier


    • Lung function increases up to 30%
    1 to 9 months:
    • Lungs (cilia) begin to heal, increasing mucus, cleaning lungs and reducing infection
    5 years:
    • Lung cancer death rate for an average smoker decreases from 137 to 72 per 100,000 people
    10 years:
    • Lung cancer death rate for an average smoker drops almost as low as the rate of non-smokers


    • Pre-cancerous cells in the lung are replaced


    • Risk of other cancers decreases (mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas)

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    Other Information

    Talk with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions or want to discuss alternatives to help you quit smoking.

    If you are considering use of nicotine replacement therapy to reduce withdrawal symptoms as you quit smoking, first ask your doctor if it is a safe option for you.

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    Other Resources

    Note: This handout is also available in Spanish.



    Brought to you as an educational service from Sutter Health

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