Each year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and more. In fact, tobacco use is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among African-Americans—heart disease, cancer and stroke—and causes 45,000 African-American deaths every year.
Stopping smoking is associated with the following health benefits:
- Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
- Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
- Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Ready to Quit?
- Smokefree apps for your smartphone (available for iOS and Android phones)
- Free text messaging programs that give 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips for becoming smoke free
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA
(1-855-335-3569) if you want help quitting. This is a free telephone support service that can help people who want to stop smoking or using tobacco. Callers will be routed to the Connecticut quitline, which offers several types of quit information and services, including:
- Free support, advice, and counseling from experienced quitline coaches.
- A personalized quit plan.
- Quit guides, including practical information on how to quit and ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal.
- The latest information about stop-smoking medications.
- Referrals to other resources.
- Commit to Quit. Commit to Quit is a cost-free, customizable cessation program that provides online and telephone support. The program also includes:
- Two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products at no cost.
- One-on-one assistance from a quit coach when needed.
- BecomeAnEX. BecomeAnEX is a free three-step plan to re-learn life without cigarettes and quit smoking for good. EX will help you pick your smoking apart into little pieces you can tackle one by one. Once you begin, you’ll start to look at quitting smoking not as one huge war, but as a series of small battles you can actually see yourself winning.
- I’m Ready to Quit! resources from the CDC.
To speak with a Public Health Nurse about strategies for quitting and additional resources, please contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7325.