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The Benefits of Quitting

Most people are aware that the overall health benefit of quitting tobacco is huge. However, few are aware that many of those benefits occur in relatively short periods of time. While there will be obvious differences between specific individuals, the information below indicates that improvement in your health when you quit smoking begins in as little as 20 minutes and continues over a 10 year period. After that time, unless a tobacco-related health problem has already begun, an ex-smoker's risk of tobacco-related death and illness is dramatically reduced.

Time Period Health Benefits
Within 20 minutes Blood pressure drops, pulse rates drop to normal, body temperature of hands and feet return to normal.
Within 8 hours Carbon Monoxide levels in the blood return to normal.
Within 24 hours Risk of heart attack decreases.
Within 48 hours Ability to smell and taste improves.
Within 72 hours Breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes relax. Lung capacity increases.
Within 3 weeks Mucus in the lungs loosen, lung function and circulation improve.
Within 2 months Blood flows more easily to arms and legs, lung function increases up to 30%.
After 3 months Lungs become more healthy, breathing becomes easier, and colds occur less.
After 1 year Risk of sudden death from heart attack is almost cut in half.
After 5 years Lung cancer death rate for the average smoker decreases by nearly 50%.
Within 10 years Risk of sudden heart attack and strokes becomes almost the same as a nonsmoker, risk of cancer drops significantly.

Tobacco Prevention Benefits

TPCP is working

In 2005, it was reported that Utah's adult smoking rate declined by 17% and the rate of pregnant women smoking declined 23%. Last year, 8 school districts implemented comprehensive school policies on tobacco, which in turn resulted in a 38% decline in student smokers.Over the course of 4 years (2001-06), 12,000 Utahns were enrolled in TPCP-sponsored tobacco cessation services, and nearly 2% fewer Utahns reported worksite exposure to secondhand smoke.

Anti-Tobacco Programs Save Money/Benefit Business

Anti-tobacco programs save taxpayer dollars and benefit business. Utah incurs more than $530 million annually in smoking-attributable medical productivity costs, and for every smoker who quits $8,000 is saved in medical care costs. In 2003, a law was passed making New York City restaurants smoke-free. A survey of nearly 30,000 New York restaurant-goers found that 23% eat out more often since this law was passed. Other states that have enacted similar laws have experienced neutral or positive impacts on business.

The Fight Against Big Tobacco

Since 2000, the Utah legislature has annually allocated $4 million of the initial Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement and a portion of tobacco excise tax revenues to the Utah Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. This funding, comprised of only 9.8% of the overall settlement and tax revenues, it has provided for an effective statewide media campaign and local tobacco prevention and control efforts. States that have cut their anti-tobacco budgets are seeing an increase in smoking susceptibility and illegal sales to youth, concurring why Utah must continue their fight.

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Quick Tips

Know why you want to quit?

Research indicates that if you're thinking about quitting, you may actually overemphasize what you "get" from using tobacco. One effective method for dealing with this is to focus on reasons you want to quit instead. Take a few minutes and write down 10 reasons why you want to quit. Keep this list in a place you can get to easily. Review these reasons daily, the more you emphasize the reasons you want to quit, the more likely you will not slip.

Take the Challenge.

Find a small, pocket-size notebook. Each time you want to a cigarette or chew, take out your notebook and write a few thoughts: what time is it, what's your mood, who are you with, where are you? Write in your journal each time you use tobacco, for up to 3 days. After you have 10 journal entries, review what you've written. See any patterns or trends?