You probably don’t need to be reminded that using tobacco presents the possibility of health challenges. When most people think of tobacco-related disease, they think of cancer. While using tobacco makes you more likely to develop lung cancer, there are many other reasons to quit such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular diseases, improving symptoms of COPD, and increasing your life expectancy by as much as 10 years.
Tobacco use doesn’t just increase the risk for developing cancer; it actually makes cancer treatment less effective and the cancer more likely to recur. For some though, until there’s a diagnosis, cancer risk doesn’t feel real. It can be hard to picture future health consequences when you feel healthy today.
Any health professional will tell you the best way to beat cancer is to prevent it. This means reducing risk factors that you do have control over, such as quitting tobacco. Current research supports this idea and suggests that up to half of all cancers could be prevented by adjusting lifestyle factors. The sooner you quit tobacco, you can reduce your odds of getting cancer and improve your overall health at the same time.
Even if you don’t have cancer, or if long term health impacts are hard to imagine, there are still many reasons to quit using tobacco. Within weeks you will experience improvement in lung function, a decrease in heart rate, an increased sense of taste and smell, and less coughing or shortness of breath, to name a few.
Partner with your Pivot Coach to explore the timeline of benefits as part of your quit process.
Here are some tips to help you get started with quitting:
- Commit to your Quit - Set a date far enough in advance to give yourself time to prepare. Use the Practice Quits feature in the Pivot Breathe app to help build confidence and skills to help you stay tobacco-free.
- Name your Why - As you begin the process of reducing or quitting, it’s important to know why you’re doing this. Saving money, health, longevity, and setting an example for family are among the many reasons people decide to quit using tobacco. Write down your top reasons for quitting to build motivation.
- Plan the Process - Everyone’s quit process looks a little different. There are many tools available – even in the Pivot app – designed to support the changes you want to make. To build your plan, think about who your support team is, how to change the routines connected with using tobacco, and whether you will use nicotine replacement or other medications.
As more tobacco-free time passes, the lower your risk of developing tobacco-related illnesses like cancer. With Pivot tools, challenges, and coaching, you can begin the process of quitting or reducing tobacco use by creating a sustainable plan just for you.
Ariana Lohmann BS, NBC-HWC, TTS
Nikki Utech, BS, NCTTP