On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Thursday is the Great American Smokeout

It’s time for Oklahomans to toss those cigarettes -- at least for one day. This Thursday, Nov. 17, smokers in Oklahoma and across the country are challenged to quit smoking for one day during the annual Great American Smokeout. Hopefully, this one-day success will show smokers they can kick the habit for good. Need some immediate gratification?
  • 20 minutes: within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 8 hours: carbon monoxide levels in the body return to normal, which means your lungs are already starting to clear themselves of mucus as oxygen levels increase.
  • 48 hours: your sense of taste and smell will improve.
  • 72 hours: the bronchial tubes in the lungs begin to relax, making breathing easier.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months: lung function dramatically improves, making it easier to exercise. Circulation improves, too.
  • 1 to 9 months: you will cough less, sinus congestion will decrease, and your sense of taste and smell will continue to improve.
  • 1 year: your risk of heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
  • 5 years: your risk of suffering a stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker; your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat or esophagus is cut in half.
  • 10 years: you're 50 percent less likely to die of lung cancer.
  • 15 years: your risk of heart disease is similar to that of a non-smoker.
Lung cancer kills more people than prostate, breast and colon cancer combined. The best way to avoid lung cancer is to stop smoking. So, just for one day, why not give it a shot and see how you feel? If you need some interaction and encouragement, visit the YMCA HEALTHY LIVING CENTER - INTEGRIS on Thursday from 9 am until 11 am for the free Great American Smokeout event held in coordination with the Oklahoma County Health Department. There will be door prize raffles, you can meet the Chick-fil-a cow, test your carbon monoxide levels and learn helpful quitting information from organizations like the American Lung Association and Red Coyote. If you want to feel like you're part of a movement, we encourage attendees and community members to share their quit stories by using #SmokingIsNotOK on social media. If doing it alone is more your style, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has free services to help. Give them a call at 1-800- QUIT NOW or check out their website. They will give you a free starter kit with a two-week supply of free patches, gum or lozenges. Or for more information, please visit the INTEGRIS Smoking Cessation Center.

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