Health department makes note of Great American Smokeout
Southern Seven Health Department shares that according to the American Cancer Society, ACS, roughly 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes – and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world.
Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about one in five deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
On Nov. 19, Southern Seven Health Department plans to join with the ACS to encourage all smokers to take part in the Great American Smoke-Out by making it the first day to a life without cigarettes, vaping and other tobacco products.
For more than 40 years, the ACS has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November.
The health department explains that within the first 24 hours of quitting smoking, your blood pressure begins to drop, decreasing the risk of heart disease from smoking-induced high blood pressure.
In this short time, your oxygen levels will have risen, making physical activity and exercise easier to do, promoting heart-healthy habits.
The health department encourages smokers not to stop at day one.
By day two, your sense of smell and taste improves as your nerve endings start to heal.
And this is just the beginning to the healing process your body will go through, the health department says.
Smoking and COVID-19
For those who smoke, and are concerned about COVID-19, the health department says there is little known at this time about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with smoking.
However, tobacco smokers may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers, and possibly contaminated cigarettes, with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth.
Smoking waterpipes, also known as shisha or hookah, often involves the sharing of mouth pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in communal and social settings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in April that current or former cigarette smokers may increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO, smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases.
Available research from WHO suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.
Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases.
No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves health both immediately and over the long term, Southern Seven Health Department says.
Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.
The health department advises that if you need guidance or options on quitting or would like to help someone else quit, call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES or 1-866-784-8937.
For more information about smoking, visit the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org, or contact your local Southern Seven Health Department office.