Did you know smoking often causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is the third leading cause of death in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? This month is COPD awareness month, and Thurs., Nov. 19, is the Great American Smokeout—a day organized by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to kick the habit.
But kicking the habit is easier said than done. In fact, research show smoking is still one of the hardest habits to break. The average person tries to quit multiple times before being successful, according to the American Lung Association. And that’s, in part, because the primary chemical used to make cigarettes—nicotine—is physically addictive. The everyday, common problems associated with smoking such as the smell of smoke in your clothes and the yellowing of your teeth—while annoying—are nothing compared to the real damage smoking can do to your health. Smoking can cause many respiratory problems like COPD, as well as lung, mouth and throat cancer. People with COPD have less airflow through their lungs as their air sacs and the walls of their lungs and airways become damaged. According to the CDC, smoking causes nine of 10 COPD deaths. Smokers are also twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease, the number one cause of death in America, according to the CDC.
But there’s hope for people who want to quit smoking. You can start by talking to a healthcare provider to find the smoking cessation options that may work best for you. Nicotine replacement therapy works for a lot of people, but not all. This therapy sends doses of nicotine into the blood through gum, skin patches, lozenges or nasal spray—and can help break the habit of smoking while reducing withdrawal symptoms.
To help you or someone you know quit smoking, Riverview Health offers a free, six-week smoking cessation program developed by the American Lung Association. The program, called Freedom From Smoking, uses a systematic approach to help class participants choose a healthy lifestyle and stop smoking. The class meets on Tuesdays from 6-7 pm in the lower level of the Riverview Health Women’s Pavilion.
Registration is required. For more information and a list of 2015 class sessions, call 317.776.7484.