Your Health

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Quitting smoking can add years to your life

Quitting smoking can add years to your life

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, May / June 2009

Smoking remains one of the most pressing health issues facing Canadians today. According to Health Canada, nearly one in five Canadians (19 per cent) continue to use tobacco, despite the fact that it has been linked to more than two dozen diseases and conditions and is estimated to take eight years off the average person's life.

Yet, health experts say that quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to enhance your health and increase your chances of living a longer life.

Here is a brief statistical overview of smoking and the benefits of quitting:

Number of Canadians who will die
prematurely due to tobacco use
Number of months that pass before your risk of heart attack is cut in half.

Percentage of people who die from smoking who won't see their 70th birthday.
Number of years that pass before your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.

Number of additional years the average non-smoker can expect to live over the average smoker.
Number of hours it takes before bronchial tubes relax, lung capacity increases, and breathing becomes easier.

Number of hours it takes before your chances of having a heart attack decline and your sense of smell and taste begin to return.
Number of weeks it takes before circulation improves. Within three months, lung functioning increases up to 30 per cent.

Source: Adapted from Health Canada

Tips for quitting

Some people quit smoking on their own with little or no help. But the odds of quitting successfully go way up if you have a Quit Plan.

Here are some tips for setting your Quit Plan:

  1. Set a quit date - pick a time when your stress level will be lower.
  2. Get as much support information as you can. Or, join a group or seek one-on-one counselling.
  3. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about using nicotine replacement
    (patch or gum) and Zyban when you quit - it doubles your chances of staying a non-smoker.
  4. Get support from those around you - their encouragement and patience will help you over the rough spots.
  5. Get active. Physical activity helps reduce the stresses of quitting,
    provides an activity to replace smoking, and contributes to a healthy new you.


Here are some resources to help you quit now:

Canadian Cancer Society
Smokers' Helpline

Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks General Hospital
Kick Butt program: Please call 632-3946.


About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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