The Great American Smokeout

Ascension Counseling Center

November 17 is National Stop Smoking Day. The event is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is designed to encourage people to stop smoking for 24 hours, hoping their decision not to smoke will last forever.

How to Tell if You’re Addicted to Cigarettes:

  1. Do you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning?

  2. Do you smoke 20 cigarettes (one pack) or more each day?

  3. At times when you can’t smoke or don’t have any cigarettes, do you feel a craving for one?

  4. Is it tough for you to keep from smoking for more than a few hours?

  5. When you are sick enough to stay in bed, do you still smoke?

If you answered Yes to two or more of these questions you may be addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking:

  • 20 Minutes after quitting: your heart rate drops to a normal level.

  • 12 Hours after quitting: the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

  • 2 Weeks—3 Months after quitting: Your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.

  • 1—9 Months after quitting: Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

  • 1 Year after quitting: Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

  • 5—15 Years after quitting: Your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker’s, and your risk of get- ting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.

  • Symptoms of Recovery

  • Quitting smoking brings on a variety of symptoms. There are both physical and psychological recovery symptoms. Most symptoms decrease after the first few days. Some stop after 3 days. Other symptoms slowly decline over the next 2 to 3 weeks. For some people, coping with recovery symptoms is like riding a roller coaster. They will take sharp turns, slow climbs, and unexpected plunges. Most symptoms pass within 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Symptoms may include: irritability; fatigue; insomnia; cough, dry throat, nasal drip; dizziness; lack of con- centration; constipation, gas, stomach pain; hunger; craving for a cigarette.