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I know perfectly well how good it feels to smoke. Tamping a fresh pack down on the dining room table, tearing off its little cellophane envelope, and sliding the first round out of formation are all immensely satisfying experiences in their own right. Actually taking a drag from that little white cylinder of tobacco… well, this probably isn’t a good way to begin recommending that you quit smoking in old age.

You’re aware of how expensive smoking has become. If you go through half a pack a day, then you’re spending about $1,200 on the habit every year. You’re certainly familiar with the way cigarettes dull the taste of food, turn your teeth and fingernails yellow, and make your clothing smell (and riddle it with holes, when you’re not careful). And you without question know about all the horrible things smoking does for your health. Anti-smoking advertisements have aired on television since the Johnson administration!

You might reason that the damage is already done. You have already smoked for this long, so what difference does it make if you stop today? Quite a large one, in fact, because you are never too old to reap the health rewards of quitting tobacco. Here are just a few ways anyone will benefit from quitting smoking – no matter their age.

Reduced Heart Rate & Blood Pressure

These are the most immediate rewards for quitting smoking. Only 20 minutes after you’ve stamped out your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure will both begin to drop. If your blood pressure is already high, quitting now will help bring it back to a healthier level.

Reduced Carbon Monoxide in Blood

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide (CO), a gas which bonds to blood cells to make them less effective at distributing oxygen throughout the body. CO exposure forces the heart to work harder, thus making it a major contributor to heart attacks and atherosclerosis. A smoker may have up to 20 times as much CO in their bloodstream as a non-smoker, but their blood can return to a healthy CO level within only a few days of quitting.

Reduced Risk of Stroke & Heart Attack

In as little as one day after quitting smoking, your blood pressure may drop to a point where you are at significantly less risk of developing heart disease or suffering from a heart attack. What’s more, by this point your good cholesterol levels will have improved to the point where exercise and other physical activities become easier to do!

Improved Lung Function & Circulation

Without hot smoke and tar to damage their delicate interiors, your lungs will gradually begin healing themselves. In as few as 30 days you may begin to notice that you are coughing less often, experiencing less shortness of breath, and even able to walk farther as you can breathe more comfortably. Perhaps running a marathon will still be out of reach, but you may be surprised just how much more ground you can cover once you’ve quit smoking.

Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

One year may seem like a fantastically long time to go without a cigarette, but the reward for reaching this milestone is tremendous: Your risk of developing coronary heart disease will decrease by half. This is the leading cause of death for Americans over the age of 35, and your risk of developing it only becomes lower the longer you abstain from smoking. In 15 years your risk of coronary heart disease will become the same as that of someone who has never smoked.

Reduced Risk of Cancer

Smoking is associated with heightened risk of developing several types of cancer including those that occur in the stomach, liver, pancreas and colon. If you quit today, then you will reduce your risk of developing lung cancer by 30 to 50% after ten years. You will also halve your risk of developing mouth or esophageal cancer within a mere 5 years!

I remember advice my grandfather once gave me on how to quit smoking: “Whenever you want a cigarette, have a drink instead.” Morgan Lane Village does not condone this particular advice, but at least grandpa’s heart was in the right place. If you would like to learn more about how we do help our residents lead healthier and more rewarding lives in Tea, South Dakota, then we welcome you to reach out to us today!