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Great American Smokeout: Many Reasons to Kick the Habit

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Maybe we can blame the bad economy, but no matter whatever or whoever is at fault, the fact is that more Americans are smoking cigarettes. In fact, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control found that after years of declining, the number of American smokers is back up again.

There are many good reasons to quit, but many smokers struggle to kick the habit for good. Indeed, according to the American Cancer Society, there are at least 12 important reasons to quit smoking. For example:

  • 1. Smoking fogs the mind: a 2008 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that smoking during middle age is linked to memory problems and lessened reasoning abilities.
  • 2. It may bring on diabetes: according to a 2007 analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, current smokers have a 44% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • 3. It invites infections: the CDC argues that there is strong data to suggest that smokers are more susceptible to pneumonia-causing bacteria than nonsmokers because smoking causes damage to the mucous membranes, making it easier for infectious organisms to latch on.
  • 4. It may affect your sex life: simply stated, smokers are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than nonsmokers. Furthermore, the severity of this problem increases as the number of cigarettes smoked per day also increases.
  • 5. It may lead to wrinkles, and not just on your face but also on other areas such as the arms.
  • 6. It may hasten menopause: according to a 2001 Surgeon General’s report, women smokers experience natural menopause at an earlier age than nonsmokers. Furthermore, a 2004 report indicated that women smokers also faced increased infertility when compared with nonsmokers.
  • 7. It can dull vision: according to several studies in the medical journal Eye, active smokers face a 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • 8. It hurts bones: smoking weakens the skeleton and can lead to increased incidence of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, smokers of both sexes experience more hip fractures than nonsmokers.
  • 9. It can damage the internal organs: specifically, cigarettes can damage the digestive system, leading to heartburn, peptic ulcers, and gallstones.
  • 10. It may contribute to a poor night’s sleep: according to a study in the medical journal, Chest, smokers are four times as likely to experience nonrestorative sleep than nonsmokers, leading to that feeling of grogginess in the morning.
  • 11. It shaves years, and quality, off of life: male smokers live, on average, 10 years less than their nonsmoking counterparts. Moreover, the nonsmokers experienced a better quality of life than the smokers.
  • 12. Smoking causes cancer: in 2004, the CDC released a report linking cigarettes to more than 2 million diagnoses of cancer between 2001 and 2004 in the U.S.

Today is the American Cancer Society’s 34th annual Great American Smokeout, and in an effort to get more Americans to stop smoking, they offer the following resources: visit the ACS webpage for tips on how to quit for good, or call the ACS Quitline at (800) 227-2345. According to Tom Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at ACS, phone counseling can double the chances of a smoker’s quitting success.