Quit­ting smok­ing can add years, qual­ity of life

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - MAYO CLINIC NEWS NET­WORK

As res­o­lu­tions go, quit­ting smok­ing could be the most im­por­tant choice on a smoker’s list.

Smok­ers are more likely to de­velop dis­eases like lung, throat and mouth cancer. And they’re more likely to die ear­lier than are peo­ple who don’t light up.

Dr. J. Tay­lor Hays, di­rec­tor of the Mayo Clinic Nico­tine De­pen­dence Cen­ter, says it’s never too late to quit the habit.

To younger smok­ers, those younger than 40-years-old, Dr. Hays asks, “Do you want to add 10 years to your life?”

He says, if the an­swer is yes, quit smok­ing.

“Do you want to avoid all of the ill health ef­fects — chronic lung dis­ease, heart dis­ease, lung cancer?” he asks. “Stop smok­ing.”

Dr. Hays says those dis­eases are in­ti­mately as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing, and, if peo­ple stop at a young age, they’ll avoid vir­tu­ally all of them.

“And they’ll add years — not just length of life, but qual­ity of life,” says Dr. Hays.

As for older smok­ers, Dr. Hays says it’s never too late to stop. “Make an at­tempt,” he says. Dr. Hays says the best way to quit is to make a plan and stick to it.

“And that plan should in­clude some coun­selling and be­havioural ther­apy, and med­i­ca­tions that will re­duce with­drawal and help main­tain ab­sti­nence,” says Dr. Hays.

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