Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona: Great American Smokeout

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Did you know that one out of every five Americans smoke cigarettes? And even more smoke pipes or tobacco, which means that more than 20 percent of our country is at risk for the myriad health problems that accompany tobacco use.

On Nov. 15, the country will mark the 37th annual Great American Smokeout. It's a time to encourage smokers to make a plan, and quit.

Whether you've been smoking for 15 years or 15 days, it's not too late to quit. And it's important to do so. Once tobacco use ceases, many of the ill health effects that come from smoking can be reversed or drastically reduced.

Abandoning cigarettes will reduce your risk for many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, bladder and cervix. Additionally, heart and lung function improve, which means lower chance of infection, stroke, bronchitis and emphysema.

Smokeless tobacco is just as detrimental to health. It's been linked to many devastating diseases, including mouth, throat and esophageal cancers.

In addition to whiter teeth and fewer wrinkles, people who quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco may also find that their sense of smell and taste return. They're also at reduced risk for developing osteoporosis and cataracts.

The addictive nature of nicotine makes quitting a daunting task. There are many resources available today, some of which include:
·    Support groups
·    Smoking-cessation hotlines
·    Counseling
·    Non-traditional treatments, such as acupuncture
·    Nicotine gum or patch

The key is to make a plan to quit and stick to it. Prompts posted in your car or office will serve as reminders about why you're quitting. Build a support group before you quit so that they can help you stay on track.

If you're not sure where to start, check for ideas and local resources. Also, check with your health plan administrator. Your health benefits might include smoking-cessation assistance. Quitting will be a challenge, but it will be well worth the effort!

*This is not a medical recommendation, anyone with concerns or questions about their health should contact their physician. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Source: American Cancer Society

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

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