Tobacco is the cause of 90 percent of lung cancers, and smoking increases the risk of more than a dozen other cancers, including cancers of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (upper throat), nose and sinuses, esophagus (food pipe), liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bladder, cervix and bowel, as well as one type of ovarian cancer and some types of leukemia. There is also some evidence that smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer.
After quitting, you can expect these amazing changes:
- 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
- 8 hours later: Nicotine, carbon monoxide, and oxygen levels in your blood begin to return to normal.
- 2 days later: Your lungs start to clear, and your sense of taste and smell begin to return.
- At 3 days: Breathing is easier, and your energy level increases.
- Between 2 to 12 weeks: Your circulation improves, and exercise gets easier.
- Then between 3 to 9 months: Breathing problems, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing improve.
- At 5 years: Your risk of having a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
- At 10 years: Your risk for lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker. You have the same risk of a heart attack as someone who has never smoked.
Okay, you’re convinced. But it’s hard, hard, hard to quit! So look for help. There are great resources on our website, including the Washington State Quit Line and where you can get free nicotine patches.
For SCCA patients and their friends and family members, SCCA has the Smoke-Free Life program where you can talk to a tobacco cessation specialist for free about quitting, in person or on the phone. You don’t have to be in Seattle to take advantage of this great service.
Just know that it really is okay to ask for help; and that there are many resources available to help you quit.