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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2018

Tobacco free living…You can quit too

By Sylvia Goff 11th Medical Group

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Sixteen million Americans have diseases caused by tobacco. Millions more have tobacco related diseases but may not be aware of this. The Air Force promotes a tobacco free military to minimize the adverse impact of tobacco use on health, mission readiness, and unit performance. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

When you quit tobacco, almost every part of your body experiences positive effects. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that just 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.  Two weeks to three months after quitting, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. One to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease and the lungs start to clean itself of mucus, thereby, reducing the risk of infection. One year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's. 

Five to ten years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases. Fifteen years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.

 Are you thinking about quitting but aren’t sure you're ready to take the plunge? Maybe you've tried to quit but were unsuccessful. That’s understandable. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done and we are here to help you take that important step toward a healthier and smoke-free life.

 The 11th Medical Group offers tobacco cessation classes and other resources on quitting tobacco, cravings, withdrawal, medication, healthy alternatives and more. Contact your primary care provider for more information or to sign up for classes by calling the Behavioral Health office at 240-857-8942 or the Health Promotion office at 240-612-1745.