It’s never too late to quit smoking. At Kaiser Permanente, we can help support your journey to breathing easier.
According to the American Cancer Society, 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and smoking causes an estimated 1 in 5 deaths every year in the United States. Smoking rates have declined, but certain populations — including people at lower socioeconomic levels, those without college degrees, Black communities, LGBTQ communities, military members, and people with behavioral health conditions — continue to be more likely to smoke heavily. Many want to kick this habit, but they fear it’ll be too difficult or too late to make a significant impact on their health.
Kimberly Petrick, MD, Family Medicine, says that you can increase your chances of quitting and remaining smoke-free by knowing what tools and medicines are available to help. She encourages anyone interested in quitting smoking to contact their personal doctor to learn what to expect and where to go for help.
“Quitting smoking is a journey. It can be hard, but it is possible. And you can increase your chances of success with a good plan and support,” said Dr. Petrick, who practices at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Monica.
“Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Quitting smoking is one of the most important actions you can take to improve your health.” Kimberly Petrick, MD, Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Santa Monica Medical Offices
It’s never too late to quit smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after you’ve smoked your last cigarette, your body immediately experiences positive changes. Within minutes your heart rate decreases, and within 24 hours the nicotine level in your blood drops to zero. In 1 to 2 years your risk of a heart attack drops sharply, and after 3 to 6 years your added risk of coronary heart disease drops by half. After 10 years, your added risk of lung cancer drops by half, and after 15 smoke-free years your risk of coronary heart disease drops close to that of someone who has never smoked.
Quitting smoking might not be easy, but Dr. Petrick says the benefits are overwhelmingly evident.
“Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States,” said Dr. Petrick. “Quitting smoking is one of the most important actions you can take to improve your health.”
Find helpful advice and information related to quitting smoking and start your journey to breathing easier today.