Dr. Gregory Thom is a general and vascular surgeon with Aurora BayCare. He joined us on Wisconsin Tonight to talk about national Kick Butts Day happening on March 15.
It’s a day where advocates nationwide speak out against tobacco. It raises awareness about tobacco usage in communities, encourages youth to avoid tobacco products, and urges officials to help protect kids from tobacco. It’s just one day in the year, but the hope is that every day can be a fight against tobacco.
It’s important to create awareness because tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States and in the world. Smoking cigarettes causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States and causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women. Each day, more than 3,000 kids under the age of 18 try smoking and of that number, an estimated 700 kids will become daily smokers. By getting involved in Kick Butts Day, the youth can raise awareness about the problem and encourage their peers to be tobacco free.
Smoking increases your risk of getting coronary heart disease, having a stroke, and developing lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other cancer risks include cancer in the colon or rectum areas, cervix, liver, and pancreas. Your blood vessels can grow thicker and get narrower, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure levels. Smoking can also make it harder for a woman to get pregnant and increases pregnancy risks such as preterm delivery, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Why should you quit smoking?
* You will look and feel healthier: your chances of getting cancer and certain diseases will go down, you will be able to breathe easier, your chances of catching colds or having high blood pressure will go down, and your skin will look healthier.
* You will have a better lifestyle and family life: you’ll have more money to spend, you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends, you save your family and friends from secondhand smoke, and your clothes and home will smell better.
* You’ll save money: If you quit smoking, you’ll pay less for health and life insurance, and you’ll reduce the costs of medical expenses.
* Less likely to try other drugs: Quitting decreases the chances of other drug use.
How can you quit smoking?
* Trying nicotine replacement therapy (some options include nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler)
* Chewing on sugarless gum, sunflower seeds, or hard candy to have something to chew on if a craving occurs
* Physical activity such as walking, running, or pushups
* Relaxation techniques such as yoga, massages, or deep-breathing exercises
* Keeping in touch with family, friends, or support groups for help in resisting cravings
* 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate will begin to slow down to a normal level.
* 24 hours after you quit, your risks of coronary artery disease and having a heart attack decrease.
* Within 48 hours, your senses of taste and smell improve.
* After one month, your lungs will begin to repair, which will help coughing and shortness of breath to decrease.
* In nine months, your withdrawal symptoms should be gone.
* After one year, your risk for heart disease is cut in half and after 10 years, your risks of lung and kidney cancer will drop to half.
For information, call Aurora BayCare General & Vascular Surgery at 877-677-5384.