Health & Vascular Benefits to Quitting Smoking
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Of all the things that cause deaths in America, cigarette smoking is the one thing that’s completely preventable, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An alarming 35 million Americans smoke cigarettes. The negative side effects of smoking are well-known, yet quitting is incredibly hard to do. “It’s always beneficial to quit smoking regardless of age,” says Laura Gintner, a physician assistant with Aurora BayCare General & Vascular Surgery at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Vaping or e-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes. Quitting smoking cigarettes but taking up vaping or e-cigarettes isn’t better for your health, either, Gintner cautions. Vaping is inhaling the vapor produced by an electronic smoking device. An e-cigarette is a handheld, battery-operated device used to heat a liquid to generate a vapor that is then inhaled by the user, stimulating the feeling of smoking. Many of these vapors contain nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, as well as many other chemicals, including known carcinogens.
Smoking is a known cause of peripheral artery disease, or PAD. It damages the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When the arteries can’t effectively get blood to the arms and legs, this leads to leg pain that comes and goes and is sometimes severe. The body’s ability to heal small cuts, scrapes and blisters is diminished without this important blood flow to the legs and feet.
The benefits to quitting smoking begin almost immediately, according to Quitter’s Circle, an online resource. Only 20 minutes after someone quits smoking, their heart rate returns to normal. Within 48 hours of quitting, the body’s senses of taste and smell start to recover and return to normal. In about 2 weeks to 3 months, the risk of heart attack lowers and lung function increases. Within 5 years, the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half.
Talk to your doctor or health care provider today if you are interested in quitting smoking. Your entire body will thank you!
Laura Gintner is a physician assistant with Aurora BayCare General & Vascular Surgery. She has training and experience with tobacco cessation counseling and treats patients at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. To request an appointment, call 920-288-8250 or do so online.
The Vascular Specialists at Aurora BayCare – a team of vascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists, an interventional neurologist and an endovascular neurosurgeon – provide vascular care at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay.