Be well: Quit smoking (or encourage someone else to kick the habit)

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If you’re still lighting up, you’re likely shortening your life.

A 2020 Surgeon General’s report noted that people who quit smoking can increase their life expectancy by up to 10 years.

The report found that kicking the habit reduces the risk of 12 different types of cancer, as well as stroke, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five US deaths can be attributed to smoking.

And besides the health benefits associated with kicking, there are many other life-enhancing benefits of quitting.

Dr. David Seitz, a New York-based physician specializing in addiction medicine, says that non-smokers have higher energy levels, a better sense of smell and taste, improved breathing and vision, greater fertility. And there is less stress.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of 12 different types of cancer, as well as stroke, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (iStock)

“Additionally, quitting smoking can help reduce exposure to smoke for those around you – making it a healthier environment for everyone,” Dr. Seitz told Fox News Digital via email.

And then there There are financial savings.

It is estimated that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day costs an individual $1,900 per year, which adds up to more than $95,000 over 50 years.

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It’s hard to argue with such compelling numbers in favor of quitting — yet nearly 40 million U.S. adults still smoke cigarettes, the CDC says on its website.

Not sure where to start? Dr. Seitz shares some quick tips for living a smoke-free life.

Remove all the marks

The first step is to throw away all cigarettes and other smoking alternatives.

As part of quitting smoking, get rid of smoking reminders from your home and car, including ashtrays and lighters.

As part of quitting smoking, get rid of smoking reminders from your home and car, including ashtrays and lighters. (iStock)

Also, get rid of smoking reminders from your home and car, including ashtrays and lighters.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five US deaths can be attributed to smoking.

“When your environment is free of temptation, you’re more likely to stick with your goal of quitting and get into the habit of living a smoke-free life,” Dr. Seitz told Fox News Digital via email.

Build a solid support system

“Quitting smoking can be difficult, so it’s important to have a strong support system that can help motivate you and provide emotional support,” the doctor said.

During your quit journey, your doctor may refer you to additional resources, such as counseling services, if needed.

During your quit journey, your doctor may refer you to additional resources, such as counseling services, if needed. (iStock)

Ask a few friends or family members to be “on call” and hold you accountable throughout your quit journey.

“Some people also find success with phone or online counseling services, or by joining support groups to help them stay on track,” Dr. Seitz said.

Fill in the gaps with healthy activities

Find some healthy alternatives to fill the time you would normally spend smoking. This could include taking a walk or jog, listening to a relaxing playlist, meditating or going to a yoga class.

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“Once you find a healthy activity that you enjoy, it can become a much more beneficial habit than smoking,” Dr. Seitz said.

Set small goals along the way

If quitting cold turkey seems too difficult, the doctor suggests setting small, stair-step goals.

Some find better results by gradually reducing the number of cigarettes smoked each day until finally quitting completely.

Some find better results by gradually reducing the number of cigarettes smoked each day until finally quitting completely. (iStock)

“This may include gradually reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you finally quit altogether, cutting back on a certain number of cigarettes per week, or focusing on specific dates when you have to quit completely. need to be smoke-free,” Dr. Seitz said. .

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“With achievable goals and milestones, it can be much easier to stay on track with your quit plan.”

See your doctor

“Your doctor can provide helpful information about quitting smoking, prescribe medications that may help, and monitor your progress along the way,” Dr. Seitz said.

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If necessary, your doctor may also refer you to additional resources, such as counseling services.

To read other episodes in Fox News Digital’s “Be Well” series, Click here.

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