We have all felt a burden of stress during this pandemic. For many, it has been a time to reflect on what we really value in life and the people and experiences that we have missed. Reflecting on one’s health and trying to prevent disease has certainly been the focus in getting vaccinated.
However, the most valuable intervention a person can make to prevent disease and prolong life is to quit smoking. Those who smoke tend to have worse outcomes if they get COVID-19. There are many health professionals who can support you on your QUIT journey, such as public health, family physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Smoker’s Helpline is an excellent free resource https://smokershelpline.ca or call 1-866-366-3667. Reaching out is the first step towards quitting.
Regardless of your age, it is never too late to quit as benefits begin within hours. As an example, within one year of quitting, the risk of a heart attack decreases by half. At one month post quitting, skin appearance improves with less greyish tone and wrinkles lessening. Within 10 years of quitting the risk of lung cancer decreases by half compared to a smoker. Smoking also increases inflammation in the body and increases the progression of many autoimmune diseases. Our most advanced therapies work better in non-smokers. So take a moment to reflect on life as a non-smoker, and all the ways that would impact your life and those around you. This may be the time to act!
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.