January 29, 2013

More Reasons To Quit Smoking Now

redOrbit reported about a new study out of the University of Toronto that found some inspiring results about smoking. The study focused on women; however, the research studied 220,000 adult Americans. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and found inspiring information through both good and bad results. Let’s get the bad findings out of the way first.

The bad findings deal specifically with women. According to National Public Radio (NPR) women who smoke are 26 times more likely to die of lung cancer than nonsmoking women. It was not until recently that researchers and doctors could really determine the impact of smoking on women because smoking only became popular and acceptable for women in the 1960s. Now, researchers and doctors know that smoking impacts women tremendously.

NPR further reported that women’s risk of death from any cause due to smoking is 50 percent higher than previously thought. Furthermore, redOrbit found that women were less likely than men to quit smoking, which means that they are more likely to suffer from lung cancer and other complications due to smoking.

This is all bad news. We have long known that smoking is bad, period, but now we know that women are particularly affected by the negative impacts of smoking.

Though the above-mentioned negative impacts should inspire any woman (and frankly any man) to quit smoking, negative is not always the best way to convince people to change their actions. Oftentimes, positive inspiration is the best way to make people choose differently. The study found some positive results as well.

First of all, people who smoke lose at least ten years of their lives. Smoking has that large of an impact on our bodies, particularly our lungs and hearts. However, for smokers who quit by the age of 40, they can gain back nine of those ten years, which means they can live almost as long as nonsmokers. This should definitely inspire younger smokers to quit now. Who doesn’t want to live to enjoy the golden years of retirement and grandbabies?

But if a smoker is already past the age of 40, there is still hope. If a smoker quits by the age of 50, then he or she can gain back about six years of life. Really, any time one quits smoking, one gains back life and health. If we use positive findings like these to help people directly relate them to their own lives, then maybe more people will quit smoking and choose life.

No matter what one’s age, to quit smoking only leads to a longer, healthier, and happier life. Not only that, but quitting can also put money back in the pocketbook. Smoking is an expensive habit financially as well. But quitting helps to minimize the lifelong costs as well as the daily ones.

To quit, sometimes people need help. Seeking out the advice of a doctor is a great first step. Doctors can help smokers who want to quit organize a plan and prescribe medicine to help the process. Additionally, many hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices offer cessation programs and classes to further assist smokers who want to become nonsmokers. And the U.S. government will soon require that health insurers cover these smoking cessation programs as a part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Though quitting is not easy, it brings more life. There is always help — and hope — for one who wants to become a nonsmoker. Quitting a smoking habit means gaining back years of life, having better health, and just plain feeling good about oneself. It is definitely worth the effort.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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