Quit smoking now to stay healthy later

Dear Editor,

With the New Year fast approaching, people everywhere are making resolutions to live better, healthier lives in 2009.

This New Year, one of the best resolutions you can make for yourself is to quit smoking.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Sixty-nine of the over 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes are known to cause cancer.

And smoking doesn’t just affect the person doing it-second hand smoke kills almost 60, 000 people each year, and parents who smoke in the home put their children at risk for asthma, increased ear infections, and even SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Fortunately, there is good news for smokers who choose to quit. Quitting smoking is the number one way that Americans can improve their health.

Within one year of quitting, a smoker’s risk of heart disease decreases by 50% compared to that of someone who still smokes.

That means that even if you have smoked for many years, you can still gain benefits if you quit smoking now! So how can smokers quit such an addictive habit?

There are several websites, such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) that offer great tips on quitting.

Smokers can also call The Alabama Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to receive FREE over-the-phone cessation counseling.

Over-the-phone counseling is affective because it provides someone who is trying to quit smoking with support and accountability.

The Quitline will also provide the first month of nicotine patches for free to those who qualify. Teens can call the Quitline too, and there is an additional incentive for teens who complete the counseling.

This New Year, start off with a decision for a better life!

Jessie Garnett

Family Connection

Saginaw