It’s Quitting Time!
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. But this November, help is on its way. The Great American Smokeout is coming on November 15. This is an opportunity to join thousands of others across the country who are also starting the journey toward a smoke-free life. Quitting smoking is an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk.
Did you know that on average, non-smokers live 10 years longer than smokers?
Tobacco use not only increases your cancer risk, but it’s also associated with core components of metabolic syndrome, like increased body weight and reduced HDL cholesterol. On top of that, the habit places a substantial burden on your wallet.
Tips for Quitting
- Find a plan that best fits you
- Set a date
- Remind yourself why you’re quitting
- Avoid activities or places that make you want to smoke
- Make it public
- Ask about programs to help you quit
- Don't give up: Slips are often part of the process
- Celebrate small successes
Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time
It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner you quit, the more you can reduce your chances of getting cancer and other diseases. Within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover:
- 20 Minutes After Quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 12 Hours After Quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- 1 to 9 Months After Quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
- 1 Year After Quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.
- 5 Years After Quitting: Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.
- 10 Years After Quitting: Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
- 15 Years After Quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
Benefits of Quitting That You’ll Notice Almost Immediately
- Food tastes better.
- Your sense of smell returns to normal.
- Your breath, hair, and clothes smell better.
- Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
- Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).
- You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.
- Quitting also helps stop the damaging effects of tobacco on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss.
- You’ll save the money you spent on tobacco!
Need to Find a Doctor, Dentist or Vision Specialist?
Are prescription medications covered by Empire?
No. The Fund provides Prescription Drug benefits through OptumRx. You should have a separate Prescription Drug ID card. For more information about your Prescription Drug Benefits, please see the Prescription Drug Benefits section of this site.