Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and it is responsible for about one in three cancer deaths. Smoking causes cancer by damaging DNA and causing cells to grow uncontrollably.
Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in the body, but it is most commonly associated with cancer of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, cervix, kidney, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The risk of cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years smoked. Even smoking a few cigarettes a day or smoking occasionally increases the risk of cancer.
The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of cancer at any age. Within 5-10 years of quitting, your chance of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or voice box drops by half. After 10 years of quitting, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker. And after 15 years of quitting, your risk of stroke is the same as that of a person who has never smoked.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit. There are many resources available to help you quit, including smoking cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapy, and counseling.
Here are some tips for quitting smoking:
- Set a quit date and tell your friends and family about it.
- Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays from your home and car.
- Avoid places where people are smoking.
- Find healthy ways to cope with stress and cravings, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones.
- Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. They can help you develop a quit plan and prescribe medications if needed.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is worth it. Quitting smoking can improve your health, lengthen your life, and save you money.