Kick the Smoking Habit in the New Year
As we switch our thought process from Santa and his reindeer to resolutions, people everywhere are starting to think about what they want to accomplish over the next year.
An important resolution for many is to quit smoking, and according to health care professionals, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Research published in The Lancet found that that smoking can be attributed to 1 in every 10 deaths globally, which is equivalent to 6.4 million people every year.
Researchers studied the smoking habits in 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2015, and found that smoking remains a leading global risk factor for death and disability.
Dr. Sudhir Mungee is an interventional cardiologist at OSF HealthCare Cardiovascular Institute. He says it's a risk factor that is also completely preventable if the right steps are taken.
“A single risk factor has an impact on not only the vascular disease, but also pulmonary diseases,” said Dr. Mungee. “It’s a no brainer. Quitting smoking is probably the biggest favor one can do to your overall improved health status.”
While the U.S. smoking rate has dropped by about 2 percent every year for both men and women since 1990, about 15 percent of American adults were still regular smokers in 2015. That amounts to about 37 million smokers.
According to Dr. Mungee, patients often wait too long to quit, and seek help only after a major health event.
“This day and age, where the information is so available and the help is already there, I think you need to have a preemptive strike. You need to quit on smoking before it strikes you,” he said. “And I think that’s the key. I think patient education, empowerment of knowledge, those are very important factors.”
Dr. Mungee says like any addiction, smoking is a hard habit to kick, but the benefits of quitting can be felt immediately.
Quitting is possible with the right tools. Click here for resources and guides designed to help people quit smoking and stay smoke-free.
“You have a lot of opportunities for help to quit smoking,” said Dr. Mungee. “I do agree, it’s not easy. But you know what? The only people who can do it are the ones who are smoking right now, and we are here to help them.”