By Natalie Dorsey, PA-C of The Family Health Centers.
There are many reasons to quit smoking.
Most of our patients are familiar with the health benefits of quitting tobacco. There are also many advantages to being smoke-free that our patients may not have considered.
Smoking is known to lead to serious health problems. Lung problems are the most common health problems associated with smoking. Lung problems include the risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis which can eventually lead to difficulty with breathing.
What many people do not realize is that smoking also increases risk of bladder cancer and vascular disease. Diseases of the vascular system put patients at risk for heart attacks, strokes, poorly healing leg and foot wounds, and can even lead to limb amputation.
Changes to a smoker’s appearance can also be attributed to smoking. People who are smokers look older than their age because smoking enhances the appearance of wrinkles, and causes yellowing of the teeth.
If you smoke, you inadvertently expose those around you to the side effects of smoking. Second-hand smoke (inhalation of the smoke you exhale) can cause an increased risk of COPD and lung cancer, especially in people who are frequently exposed, such as family members. Third hand smoke (exposure to clothes, homes and vehicles where someone has smoked) is a risk factor for frequent ear infections in children.
The cost of smoking is another reason to quit. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in North Carolina is $6.00. If you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, you can save $2,190 a year and can apply the savings to fun (and usually healthier) activities.
Many insurance companies provide discounted rates for healthy non-tobacco using policy holders. These discounts can be as high as 20%. Avoiding or quitting tobacco can also reduce doctor’s office visits, which can mean fewer co-pays and lower expenses for medications.
If you decide that you are ready to quit smoking, there are many pharmacological options that can help our patients through the transition. If you interested in quitting, please schedule an appointment with your provider at The Family Health Centers. We look forward to helping you get healthy, stay healthy, and kick tobacco for good.
About Natalie Dorsey, PA-C. Ms. Dorsey chose Primary Care because she recognizes a need in health care, and she wants to be involved in the full picture of a patient’s care. Ms. Dorsey and her husband live in Asheville with their daughter, Olivia. Their family enjoys hiking, camping, rafting and Asheville’s many summer festivals.