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Tobacco cessation: Find your why

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - 11/9/2018

Nov. 09--Up to 40 percent of annual deaths from each of five leading U.S. causes are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Though many lifestyle components such as lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and others influence health and wellness in an individual, tobacco use remains a primary contributor to preventable premature deaths nationwide.

The southeastern states have the highest number of preventable deaths from the five top causes. The simple truth is all forms of tobacco use are harmful to the body. For some people it seems particularly disproportionately devastating to their health.

However, there is good news about tobacco cessation. Now is the best time to stop tobacco. Today is "National Kick Butt Day." You can take action to quit all tobacco use and begin a healthier lifestyle, and resources are available to support your efforts to quit.

Mississippi has the Mississippi Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUITNOW or 1-800-784-8669. The Tobacco Quit Line offers several options, including information, telephone counseling toward tobacco cessation, free nicotine patches and gum, if one qualifies. North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo also offers a seven-week class to help you develop strategies to quit tobacco and begin healthier alternate lifestyle changes. For more information, call (662) 377-5487.

As one reduces and quits tobacco completely, the body begins to improve and heal. Your body has removed the nicotine within about three days of stopping use. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your heart rate slows down. Within 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood starts dropping back to normal. Within the first few months your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.

By the end of that first year, your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker. By the end of five years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. By a decade, your lung cancer death rate is half that of a smoker and the risk of other cancers decreases as well. By 15 years after quitting tobacco your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker.

Quitting tobacco is worth it. You are worth it. You can do it. We will help.

Begin by "finding your why." What is your personal reason to stop all tobacco? Do you feel winded when you walk? Are you unable to climb into your deer stand? Do you have a new baby or grandchild you don't want to expose to cigarette smoke? Is it too expensive? What else would you do with that money if you didn't buy tobacco? It may simply "be time to do this." Take that next step and speak with your primary health care provider to ask about tobacco cessation. Call the Quitline. Call us. Be tobacco free in 2019.

Rebecca Cagle is a family nurse practitioner who oversees North Mississippi Medical Center's Advanced Practice Clinician Program and Tobacco Cessation Program.


(c)2018 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.)

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