Monday was yet another Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It has one goal - convince smokers to quit.
After all these years of indisputable evidence of smoking’s damage, the question is why is a smokeout day even necessary?
The answer: About 60 million people, or about one in every five Americans, still smoke. The streets look as if everyone of them throws at least one butt out the window every day.
The number smoking is down from the 80 million who puffed when the first surgeon general’s warning was issued 40 years ago.
How many of that 20 million decrease quit or how many died from smoking-related ailments, or other ailments, isn’t known.
That they do so is incredible, but there is nothing illegal about people choosing to smoke, as long as a person is of age. And people making bad choices is not all that uncommon.
As long as people choose to smoke those who choose not to have to abide them.
However, progress has been made by those preferring not to put up with others’ second-hand smoke.
It is illegal to smoke in places decreed by the Legislature as off limits. That includes all public facilities and most retail establishments and restaurants.
It also includes public vehicles used by public employees.
Why quit the addiction?
20 minutes after quitting. your heart rate drops.
12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
Two weeks to three months after quitting, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
One to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
One year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
Five years after quitting, the stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s.