Health Advocate Blog

Improve Your Health–Commit to Quit Tobacco!

Thursday, November 20, 2014 is The Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers nationwide are encouraged to abstain from cigarettes for 24 hours.  Millions of Americans are participating, and it’s simple for you to participate, too.  All you have to do is not smoke during the 24 hours of the Smokeout.  This helps you understand that you can indeed quit smoking for a day—and help you learn that you’re not alone in your quest to stop smoking.  The Great American Smokeout may even help jump-start your efforts to permanently quit smoking—but even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least have experienced quitting for a day.

It’s never too late to quit

The health benefits of quitting smoking begin almost instantly after you finish your last cigarette. These stats from the American Cancer Society show how your body starts to heal itself over time after you quit:

Immediate benefits include…

  •  Your breath smells better
  •  Your teeth can become less discolored
  •  Your clothes and hair will not smell of smoke
  •  Your fingernails will return to their natural color and be less yellow
  •  Your sense of smell returns
  •  9You can feel less short of breath after doing light activities

After you quit, your body will begin to heal itself over time. Here’s how…

  •  After 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal levels.
  •  After 12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  •  After 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  •  After 1-9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  •  After 1 year: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
  •  After 5 years: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risks falls to that of a non-smoker.
  •  After 10 years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of pancreas and larynx cancer decreases.
  •  After 15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s

If you are interested in quitting smoking—whether for a day or permanently–below is a comprehensive list of resources you can use to get started!

For Health Advocate members with access to our Wellness Program:

It’s not too late to join our Commit to Quit Tobacco campaign for 2014! Simply log in to your Health Advocate Wellness website and opt-in to the Commit to Quit Tobacco campaign (depending on your particular program/website, you can register either by clicking the Commit to Quit Tobacco banner on the top of the page, or by clicking “My Account”). During the campaign, you will receive valuable quit-tobacco tips via email and/or text messaging that can help you get prepared to quit on November 20.

Additionally, if you have access to a Health Advocate Wellness Coach through our wellness program, you can connect with a coach who can help motivate and guide you through quitting tobacco. Call us today to get started!

Not a Health Advocate member? No problem! Check out these other helpful resources for quitting tobacco:

Your doctor
Mention to your doctor that you’re interested in quitting smoking.  Your doctor can provide you with recommendations and resources that can help you quit.
Click here for a ton of really cool resources, including a cigarette cost calculator (you may be shocked at how much money you’re spending on cigarettes over time), “desktop helpers” that can help you plan your quit day and deal with cravings, and more.

National Cancer Institute resources:

  • NCI Smoking Quitline at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1–877–448–7848) provides individualized counseling, printed information, and referrals to other sources.
  • is a Web site created by NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch; check out their Step-by-Step Quit Guide.

American Cancer Society
Their website includes a guide to quitting smoking.
You can also call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

American Heart Association
This website features a free, online plan to help you quit smoking.

American Lung Association

Other resources:
“Help for Smokers and Other Tobacco Users” is a free booklet created by the US Department of Health and Human Services packed with tips on how to quit:

“FDA 101: Smoking Cessation Products” is an article put out by the Food and Drug Administration that discusses the variety of approved products, both over-the-counter and prescription, that can help you quit smoking.