Can You Stop Smoking?

Smoking Cigarettes
Image by Andra MIhali

Can YOU stop smoking? Everyone knows the dangers and all the negative effects of smoking, yet people continue to smoke!  WHY?

A few statistics from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked.
  • The major causes of excess mortality among smokers are diseases that are related to smoking, including cancer and respiratory and vascular disease.
  • Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year (including deaths from secondhand smoke).
  • Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.
  • Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. (Encouraging)

The potential health risks are enough to scare some people into quitting, but why not everyone?  It doesn’t seem logical that anyone would willingly put themselves at risk for lung cancer, heart problems, cancer of the larynx and even a severely increased risk of heart attack or stroke – and yet by continuing to smoke that is exactly what people are doing.

In spite of all the warnings, those who continue to smoke either believe they cannot stop, they think they are invincible (nothing bad will happen to them), or (as in the case of my son), they do not want to stop.

Unfortunately, by the time many smokers decide too quit, it is often too late. The damage has been done and the result is often a death sentence. The consequence of their addictive habit is they are forced to give up their lives, rather making the choice to give up their daily pack (or packs) of cigarettes.

I lost a brother, a sister and a father-in-law as a result of their choices to continue smoking. I know that none of them consciously chose to die, yet many people make that choice every day by clinging to their cigarettes.

If you decide to quit, be clear about “why” and make a full commitment to do so. If you decide to quit on a whim or a dare, it may be exciting for a short time, but your effort is not likely to be successful. In fact, in the end you may even be upset or a little sad that you did not actually stop.

Letting go of your addiction is never easy; so, why put yourself through it? There are many reasons to stop in addition to the physical impact on your body. In this series we will look at the most compelling reasons to stop smoking; but, today, there is one that I want to mention.

YOUR FAMILY – How do you want your family to remember you?  Do you want to leave the legacy of smoking to your children?  Of all the smokers I have known in my life not one of them has encouraged their children to smoke. In fact, they would be upset, or at least disappointed if their children became smokers.

Children love and idolize their parents and follow their lead. When you continuously smoke around them, you are sending a message that is far more profound than anything you can ever say about smoking – plus, you are endangering their health through secondhand smoke.

When parents smoke, there is a much greater chance that their children will smoke.  The best thing you can do to prevent that is to stop smoking immediately.

Making the decision to quit is personal – and must be something you WANT to do.  No one can force you to stop; but, at the same time ignoring the warnings and advice from your doctors puts you at risk for serious health problems.  The negative effects on your health can be devastating to you – and to you family – debilitating emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease can be life-threatening and heartbreaking. Your loss is also their loss.

We are in an era when people are more focused on living healthier lifestyles. If you are among that number and searching for ways to improve your life, one huge step forward would be to stop smoking. That alone can make a significant improvement in your health. You will also be showing your family that you love them and want to be around for a long time.

Your family relies on you for guidance, support, and love.  Make sure you are there to provide all of that, and more.

The answer to the question – Can you stop smoking? – is YES if you choose to. Taking the time to look at the reasons you want to quit and making an absolute commitment to do so is critical to your success.

Photo Credit: Maddie13_pp via photopin (license)