This July, Wisconsin joined Minnesota as a smoke-free state with its statewide smoking ban – making smoking in public inconvenient.
If you don't smoke, you may be breathing a huge sigh of relief; if you do smoke, it's one more good reason to quit.
Don’t wait. Quit today. You will add years to your life.
Within minutes your body will begin to experience the benefits of not smoking. After
… 20 MINUTES, your blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature of your hands and feet return to normal.
… 8 HOURS, the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood return to normal.
… 24 HOURS, your risk of heart attack decreases.
… 48 HOURS, your nerve endings start to re-grow. Your sense of smell and taste improve.
… 2 WEEKS TO 3 MONTHS, you will breathe easier. Your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30 percent.
Be patient; the worse of the nicotine withdrawal subsides within the first month
… 1 TO 9 MONTHS, you lose the hacking cough, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease. This is partly because the cilia, which cleans your lungs, has started to re-grow. Now your body can handle mucous and can reduce infection. Being able to breathe better will increase your overall energy.
… 1 YEAR, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
… 2 YEARS, your chance of relapse decreases significantly.
… 5 YEARS, the lung cancer death rate for average smoker (one pack a day) decreases by almost half.
… 5 YEARS to 15 YEARS, the risk of stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker's.
… 10 YEARS, the lung cancer death rate similar to that of nonsmokers. Precancerous cells are replaced. Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
… 15 YEARS, your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.
Remember, it may take repeated quitting attempts before you are successful; some people try up to seven times.
The support of a smoking cessation program, support group and other helpful resources dramatically increase your chances of success.
Many people want to quit smoking, but it is challenging.
According to Stacey Gusman, a family nurse practitioner with Ministry Victory Medical Group’s Owen Clinic, there are a number of medication choices, including varenicline (Chantix), Zyban or Wellbutrin. Some patients have found success using the nicotine patch, nicotine inhaler, nasal spray nicotrol and nicotine lozenges.
Alternative therapy including behavioral changes, hypnosis, acupuncture and exercise can help. People interested in quitting should call the Wisconsin Quit Line 1-800-Quit-Now for coaching, and additional resources.
Get Free Medications, Live Coaching and Web Forums
That's right. If you're ready to quit smoking or chewing tobacco and you're a Wisconsin resident, simply call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
You'll talk to a friendly quit coach who will send you a free two-week supply of quit-tobacco medications, plus help you develop strategies on how to quit that are just right for you. The Quit Line has already helped more than 123,500 callers just like you.
It's all free, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or hit "CLICK TO CALL" in the upper-right corner of this screen to have a coach call you!
Quitting benefits the other people in your life
Second-hand smoke – it all counts
As they inhale deeply to get every last bit of nicotine, smokers may get annoyed at rules and laws protecting others from their second-hand smoke. But passive smoke has been identified as a known cause of cancer and has been linked to heart disease, lung disorders, infections, SIDS and premature death in both children and adults.
According to Stacey Gusman, a family nurse practitioner with Ministry Victory Medical Group’s Owen Clinic, “While smokers get more than 100 times the dose compared to non-smokers, the U.S. Surgeon General has determined that there is no risk-free level of exposure.”
Studies indicate that the effects of passive smoke on the cardiovascular system are particularly rapid and devastating. The American Lung Association estimates that 46,000 Americans each year die of heart disease attributed to second-hand smoke.
When Helena, Montana enacted laws forbidding smoking in public places and at work sites, hospital admissions for heart attacks declined by 40 percent. After enforcement of the ban was reversed by a lawsuit, the number of heart attacks in the community once again started to rise.
Gusman says, “The medical research all points to a substantial effect on the heart and blood vessels from as little as 30 minutes exposure.”
The effects of smoking on health include:
The function of blood platelets is to promote clotting–very helpful in stopping the bleeding when you get a small cut on your skin. Unwanted clotting in blood vessels near the heart, however, is a prime reason for a heart attack.
In one early study, smokers and nonsmokers were exposed to 20 minutes of second-hand smoke. At baseline, smokers had elevated levels of platelet activation, indicating long-term cardiovascular effects. At the end of the experiment, smokers had approximately the same level of platelet activation as before while nonsmokers experienced increases until they reached nearly the same level as the smokers.
Another study found that repeated 60-minute exposures to smoke increased the baseline platelet activation of non-smokers to a level close to that of smokers.
The endothelial layer of an artery is the one in direct contact with blood; it’s crucial to the healthy function of the blood vessel, causing secretion of nitric oxide when dilation of blood vessels is needed and endothelin when it’s necessary for arteries to constrict.
Abnormal function of the endothelial layer can lead to the buildup of plaque deposits (atherosclerosis) and decreased blood flow.
Environmental smoke has a very immediate effect on endothelial function. With just 30 minutes of smoke exposure – comparable to that in a bar – nonsmokers showed impairments comparable to those of habitual smokers. And the effect of repeated exposure was to create long-term endothelial dysfunction comparable to that of smokers.
Exposure to second hand smoke is associated with lower levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) in both adults and children. The effect on HDL is greater in males than blacks or females. Non-smoking women exposed to smoke at work for 6 hours a day over a 6-month period, however, had a 31 percent decrease in HDL, compared to a 33 percent decrease for smoking women in the same environment.
It’s now known that inflammation sets the stage for the buildup of plaque in arteries. And for both adults and children, passive smoking results in higher levels of markers for inflammation.
Less than 7 hours a week of second-hand smoke increases heart attack risk by 24 percent. Laws restricting public and work place smoking enacted over the past 15 years may seem punitive; in reality, they are protective. Between 1988 and 1991, about 88 percent of non-smokers had detectable blood levels of cotinine (a by-product of nicotine). By 2001-2002, that level had dropped to 43 percent.
Gusman says, “According to one estimate, if all work places were made smoke-free by law, the result would be 1,500 fewer heart attacks in the first year.”
Tobacco Cessation resources:
Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line: 1.877.270.STOP
Security Health Plan’s Tobacco Free Program: 1.800.549.3174
Freedom From Smoking Online Program
American Lung Association