Women and quitting smoking
New findings from the Lung Health Study (LHS) indicate that, in general, women's lung function improves significantly more than men's after sustained smoking cessation. LHS researchers previously published results showing that both men and women benefit from smoking cessation; this new analysis indicates that the benefits to the lungs are greater in women than in men. The results are published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the study followed more than 5,300 middle-aged smokers for five years. All participants had mild or moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the first year after quitting, women's lung function improved more than twice that of the men's. Among those who quit, improved lung function remained greater for women than for men throughout the study, although the differences between the genders narrowed over time. The decline in lung function in those who continued to smoke was on average similar for men and women.
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of COPD, a slowly progressive disease of the lung that is characterized by a gradual loss of lung function. COPD is the fourth most common and the most rapidly increasing cause of death in the United States. Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive bronchitis, or a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis are forms of COPD.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Almost everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but do you know all the benefits of quitting? For the vast majority of smokers, quitting smoking is the best single thing they can do to improve the length and quality of their lives. Persons who quit smoking immediately begin to reduce their chances of developing heart disease, cancer, breathing problems or infections.
Former smokers also live longer than those who continue to smoke. For example, those who quit before age 50 have only half the chance of dying in the next 15 years compared with those who continue to smoke.
Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or early in their pregnancy reduce their chances of having a low birth-weight baby. Quitting can also reduce the chances of stillbirth, early infant death, and improve the health of the woman.
I quit smoking when I was in my 20s, a couple of times. Eventually I kicked it. Since then, I've never looked back. If I can do it, you can do it.
Within 8 hours
- carbon monoxide level drops in your body
- oxygen level in your blood increases to normal
Within 48 hours
- your chances of having a heart attack start to go down
- sense of smell and taste begin to improve
Within 72 hours
- bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
- lung capacity increases
Within 2 weeks to 3 months
- circulation improves
- lung functioning increases up to 30%
Within 6 months
- coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath improve
Within 1 year
- risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half
Within 10 years
- risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
Within 15 years
- risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked.
Secondary Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The health benefits of quitting occur for all types of smokers, men and women, young and old. Even those who have developed smoking-related problems like heart disease can benefit. For example, compared to continuing smokers, people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50%. They also reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 50%.
As far as improving your health, quitting smoking ranks at the top of the list. Be good to yourself and those who love you. Quit smoking.
What are the other benefits of quitting?
Although reducing your chances of premature death and illness is important, they aren't the only benefits of quitting smoking.
- Think of the money you will save by not having to buy tobacco, lighters, ashtrays, matches and so on.
- Your costs for cleaning clothes, carpets, and furniture may go down.
- The resale value of your car and house may go up.
- Your clothes may last longer (no chance of accidentally burning a hole).
- Your life and house insurance premiums may go down.
- Your sense of taste and smell will be enhanced. You will enjoy your food more.
- You will look and feel younger. Smoking causes wrinkling and the appearance of premature aging.
- You will have more energy to do the things you love.
- No more yellow teeth or fingers.
- You'll feel proud of your ability to overcome something so challenging. Many smokers remember the exact day they quit because it is a source of great pride.
- Cigarettes will no longer control your life. You will be setting a great example for children and other smokers.
- No need to worry about which restaurant you go to or whether you can smoke in a particular place.
- No more looks of disapproval or feelings of guilt. No more nagging from people asking when you're going to quit.
The message is clear. It's never too late to quit smoking. The sooner you quit the better, but even quitting after smoking for many years will bring an array of important benefits.
Source: Health Canada