insert alt text

Every third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society hosts their Great American Smokeout event as a way to motivate individuals to finally break their smoking habit and triumph over tobacco once and for all. The event brings awareness to the risks of smoking as well as to the variety of tools and resources individuals can use to quit. This day can be used as a day to quit, or a day to draft up a plan to quit.

Risks of Cigarette Smoking

In the United States, roughly 42 million people still smoke cigarettes, and cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of disease and early death. Smoking causes a number of decreased health effects, including the following:

  • More than 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
  • 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women.
  • Roughly 80% of all deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Increased risk for death from all causes in men and women.
  • Increased risk for stroke by 2 to 4 times.
  • Increased risk of men and women developing lung cancer by 25 and 25.7 times, respectively

Furthermore, the deadly habit also increases the risk of developing mesothelioma if exposed to asbestos — another preventable cause of disease.

Smoking and Asbestos Exposure

Smokers who have also been exposed to asbestos are roughly 50-84 times more likely to develop asbestos lung cancer and twice as likely to develop mesothelioma. While asbestos exposure is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma, the negative effects smoking has on the lungs and body decreases the body’s ability to remove inhaled asbestos fibers, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Also, the irritation and mucus caused by smoking blocks any chance the lungs have of eliminating trapped fibers. Trapped fibers, in turn, lead to the possible development of malignant tumors.

However, according to the National Cancer Institute, quitting smoking for an estimated 5 years can cut the risk for a mesothelioma diagnosis in half.

Resources for Quitting

Of course, quitting is much easier said than done, but research shows that smokers who have support are least likely to relapse. Means of support include:

  • Quit smoking hotlines, which are available in all 50 states.
  • Support groups, online or in person
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine patches, gums, etc.
  • Prescription drugs to manage cravings
  • Guide books
  • Family and friends

Quitting smoking dramatically decreases the aforementioned risks rapidly. Start your journey to a healthier life today.