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5 Key Reasons to Quit Smoking Now (Before It's Too Late)

If You Don't Have Your Health, Nothing Else Matters

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Updated July 09, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

5 Key Reasons to Quit Smoking Now (Before It's Too Late)
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Every smoker knows they face an increased risk for serious health problems from cigarettes and cigars. We know smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema. None of this is earth-shattering news.

As smokers, though, we learn to effectively ignore the particulars about smoking-related disease. We gloss over, tune out and otherwise distract ourselves whenever possible. Looking too closely can cause a head-on collision with realities of the damage we're inflicting on our bodies and turns smoking 'enjoyment' into a guilty, fearful experience.

Smoker's Denial

All smokers harbor the secret hope that they will be spared the disease and death that follows nicotine addiction. We tell ourselves we'll quit in time and somehow dodge the bullet that smoking is. But with four million people dying every year due to tobacco use around the world, the odds aren't in our favor. Put another way, a smoking-related death occurs somewhere in the world every eight seconds, 365 days a year.

The sooner we remove the blinders and look carefully at nicotine addiction and the damage it causes, the sooner we can begin pulling away from the lies.

5 Reasons to Quit Smoking

1) Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death caused by smoking. The toxins in cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries. Smoking is hard on the heart.

2) Stroke
According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing upwards of 150,000 people each year. For smokers, the risk of stroke is nearly 2-1/2 times that of nonsmokers. 3) Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 213,380 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed - and 160,390 deaths will occur - in 2007 from lung cancer in the United States alone.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, and with 87 percent of all lung cancer cases involving tobacco, it is one form of cancer that is preventable. 4) COPD
Tobacco use is the number one cause of COPD (which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and quitting smoking is the best way to halt further damage. It's estimated that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from COPD, with upwards of 14 million others who may have it but are undiagnosed. In the United States, it was the fourth leading cause of death in 2000 and projections place it as the third leading cause by the year 2020. 5) Oral Cancer
Oral cancer (mouth cancer) is included in a specific group of cancers called oral and head and neck cancer. It's estimated that 70 to 80 percent of all cases of OHNC are due to tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption.

There's No Time Like The Present...

If you're thinking about quitting, a good place to start is exactly where you avoided going in the past. Delve into the facts and figures about how destructive tobacco is. Learn exactly what you risk when you light up, day after day, year after year.

Don't be afraid to look at nicotine addiction head-on. It will help you shift your attitude away from thinking of smoking as a friend and allow you to see it for death trap it truly is.

Sources:

1."What are the Key Statistics About Lung Cancer?" 25 October 2006. American Cancer Society.
2. "Cancer Facts and Figures 2007." 2007 American Cancer Society.
3. "NCHS - FASTATS - Leading Causes of Death." 06 October 2006. National Center for Health Statistics.

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