More than 50 million Americans smoke. People begin smoking for many reasons—stress, social status, and peer pressure—but the main reason they continue is addiction to nicotine. Smoking is, in fact, so addictive that some people consider giving up cigarettes harder than quitting an addictive illicit drug.

People also continue to smoke for psychological reasons. For some, smoking seems to give the hands something to do. Others say it provides comfort. Cigarette smoke, however, contains more than 4,000 chemicals, and, when inhaled, they merge into a tar like substance that sticks to the tissues inside the mouth, throat, lungs, and stomach. The chemicals not only damage the tissues they contact directly, but they also harm the entire body by reducing the amount of well-oxygenated blood that reaches the organs. Smoking affects nearly every organ in the body—heart, brain, stomach, bladder, kidneys, and even the skin. People who smoke also double or triple their risk of developing cataracts.

Why quit smoking?

Smoking affects not only your health. Second-hand smoke can cause damage to those around you—even family and friends who choose not to smoke. If you quit smoking:
• You’ll live longer and you and your family will live better.
• You won’t be winded when walking up a flight of stairs.
• You’ll be able to exercise and keep your heart healthier.
• You will reduce the risk of developing dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
• Your baby will be at less risk of suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
• You’ll have less heartburn.
• For men, smoking increases the chances of impotence, so your love life will improve as well.
• You’ll also be giving yourself money each month to spend on yourself and not on cigarettes.

What happens when I quit smoking?

Quitting smoking has many benefits. Within 1 month of quitting, you will decrease your heart rate, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood, and your risk of heart attack. The long-term benefits include reducing risks for stroke; lung, stomach, bladder and other cancers; coronary heart disease, such as heart attack; chronic lung diseases and chronic cough; stomach ulcers; and peripheral artery disease. The risk of your child being born with low weight will also decrease. Within 5 years of quitting, your risk of stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker. In 15 years, your heart attack risk is the same as of non-smokers of the same age.

What’s the bottom line?

Smoking is a physical and psychological addiction that is not at all easy to break. Most smokers have to kick the habit more than once to finally quit. If you are unsuccessful the first or second time, try again. Don’t see the initial attempts as failures, but as opportunities to find out how not to quit. With a sincere commitment and perseverance, you will be able to quit. When you do, your family, friends, and most of all, your body will thank you for rising to the challenge. Here’s to your being the next non-smoker in America!

Quit Smoking Food

Recommended

Apples
Bananas
Berries
Grapefruit
Carrots
Grapes
Lemons
Limes
Melons
Oranges
Pears
Pineapple
Tangerines
Almonds
Artichokes
Asparagus
Green beans
Beets
Beet tops
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Endive
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Olives
Onions
Parsley
Parsnips
Peas
Peppers
Potatoes
Sunflowers
Chicken
Fish

Avoid

Cranberries
Plums
Prunes
White bread
Pastries
Spaghetti
Bacon
Barley
Beef
Cheese
Duck
Eggs
Lamb
Liver
Pork
Scallops
Veal
Honey
Sugar
Syrup

Other Diet Tips:

1) Drink as much water as possible while going through the process, preferably mineral water
2) Avoid all alcohol
3) Limit your caffeine; coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas, as they act as vasoconstrictors

Helpful Links

American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
American Heart Association
Call It Quits
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Mayo Clinic
Quit Plan
Smoke Free

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