Dear Abby reprinted these statistics from the American Cancer Society today. They tell a compelling story.
"When smokers quit, the benefits begin immediately. Twenty minutes after the last cigarette, blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. Eight hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to normal. Twenty four hours later , the chance of heart attack decreases.
After one to nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatique and shortness of breath decrease, and cilia regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection. One year later, excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
After five years, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. After ten years, the lung cancer fatality rate is about half that of a smoker's and the risk of oral, throat, esophageal, bladder, kidney and pancreatic cancer also decreases."
I brought these statistics to you because my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her doctor didn't even let her go home. Two days later she was recuperating from having the lower third of her right lung removed. I'm delighted to tell you that she is (at least) an eight year survivor. The important thing is, that she lived to see all three of her sons become dads.
Her experience has helped almost everyone in my family to quit smoking. When we built our home we announced that it was a non-smoking area. My mother would stand out in the semi-enclosed entryway to smoke, even during the coldest winter weather. When my sister had her surgery, Mother made the decision to quit.
I have had asthma due to allergies almost all my life. For me, the trend toward not smoking is one of the best things that could have happened. My family always made sure to seat me upwind of their smoke, but that doesn't eliminate second hand smoke.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and today is the 27th Great American Smokeout. If you smoke, I hope you tried to do without them today. It could be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself....and your loved ones!