Later this month, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout aims to see thousands of American smokers ditch the habit for 24 hours, lead a healthier lifestyle and participate in early cancer screenings.
The 36-year-old event is annual, and began as several local initiatives that encouraged smokers to quit smoking for a day with hopes the habit (or lack thereof) would help them not smoke on a more long-term basis. Cancer, emphysema and COPD are all cited as reasons smokers should ditch the cigs, but in this day and age, most people are well aware of all the health risks that come standard with frequently lighting up- so doctor says taking a different angle will help get more smokers to consider giving up smoking for a day or for good.
Loyola University Health System’s Dr. Carlos Reynes thinks smokers know their cig habit will hit their health hard, and perhaps anti-smoking measures should focus a bit more on where else smokers feel the pain of a pack-a-day habit- in the wallet. Reynes said at $7 to $9 a pack (less than the $10 to $12 a pack cigarettes cost in NYC), smokers drop an average of $2,500 to $3,300 a year on getting a nicotine fix.
While Reynes focused on the fiscal perks of not smoking, he did note the health benefits- but again, tangibly. He said:
“Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. One year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.”
In addition to replacing smoking with exercise and time outside, the ACS suggests early cancer screenings to minimize the health impact of smoking in general.