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This monthly employee newsletter, plus more resources, are available 24/7 to all of our Pathways Portal online program members. Learn more about taking your entire wellness program and incentive reward system online: Pathways Portal Online Employee Wellness Management
Great American Smokeout is Near
Besides the extra hour of sleep this weekend, Thanksgiving and Black Friday, there is another great day in November and it should definitely be celebrated!
November 16 is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Take time this month to formulate your quitting plan or help someone who wants to quit smoking. Since 2002, the number of former smokers has been greater than the number of current smokers. That’s holiday worthy, right there. If you want to quit, you can be one of the good statistics! If you know someone who wants to quit, you can help that person become a statistic, too!
Join the Great American Smokeout
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a wealth of information and resources online related to smoking cessation. For more information and references, visit the CDC website.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
- Most smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco.
- More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.
- Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
- Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts.
- People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and weight gain.
- Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious
- Having trouble thinking
- Craving tobacco products
- Feeling hungrier than usual
Healthy Benefits of Quitting
Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful, and about 70 can cause cancer. Smoking increases the risk for serious health problems, many diseases, and death.
People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, there are benefits at any age. You are never too old to quit.
Stopping Smoking is Associated with the Following Benefits
- Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
- Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
- Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Timeline for Recovery from Damage Done by Smoking Cigarettes
- 20 minutes – Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 12 hours – The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 weeks to 3 months – Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- 1-9 months – Coughing and shortness of breath decrease, cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
- 1 year – The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who continues to smoke. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.
- 5 years – The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
- 10 years The risk of dying from lunch cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
- 15 years – The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
Ways to Quit Smoking
Among all current U.S. adult cigarette smokers, nearly 7 out of every 10 (68.0%) reported in 2015 that they wanted to quit completely. Most former smokers quit without using one of the treatments that scientific research has shown can work.
Non-medication treatments proven to be effective for quitting:
- Doctor’s assistance (patient advice and assistance with quitting smoking)
- Individual, group, or telephone counseling
- Behavioral therapies
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and more intensity
- Programs to deliver treatments using mobile phones
Medications for quitting that have been found to be effective:
- Nicotine replacement products: over-the-counter and prescription (i.e., nicotine patch, inhaler, nasal spray
- Prescription non-nicotine medications
Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone.
There are many online resources available to help those who wish to quit smoking and get healthy!
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) if you want help quitting. This is a free telephone support service that can help people who want to stop smoking or using tobacco. There are several types of quit information and services offered:
- Free support, advice, and counseling from experienced quitline coaches
- A personalized quit plan
- Practical information on how to quit, including ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal
- The latest information about stop-smoking medications
- Free or discounted medications (available for at least some callers in most states)
- Referrals to other resources
- Mailed self-help materials
We all know what we should and should not do… the hard work is taking that first step and making a commitment.
With the resources available and your personal support team, you can do it!
You are stronger than cigarettes!
More about the Pathways Portal Online Program
Incentivize & Track Employee Wellness Engagement
Pathways to SmartCare now has an easy and cost-effective solution to manage program participation, incentive tracking, and personal health goals for each group member.
Our Online Wellness Portal does the hard work for program administrators and individual members.
Learn more about taking your entire wellness program and incentive reward system online: Pathways Portal Online Employee Wellness Management
About Pathways to SmartCare
Tailored Plans For Employee Wellness Programs
Pathways to SmartCare is the Employee Wellness Program of American HealthCare Group, a preventive services firm in Pittsburgh, PA. American HealthCare Group designs wellness programming for corporations, school districts, municipalities and other employers.
Pathways to SmartCare designs preventive services programs for employees. We administer biometric health screenings, immunizations, Health Fairs, Lunch wellness events, on-site programming and more to our clients.