Get Healthy Carson City
By Sandy Wartgow, RN
Carson City Health and Human Services

Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. Each year, 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases. Yet, 40 million Americans still smoke. The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use. As we continue to educate the public about the risks associated with tobacco use, we nationally recognize. Nov. 16 as the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, a day to make the United States smoke free.

We want to encourage tobacco users to use the Great American Smokeout as an opportunity to start a path of healthy living that is tobacco-free. Use this day to be your quit date, not just for the day but year round. Smoking is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions you can have. Quitting is a process and starts with a plan. It takes time and a lot of support.

The use of counseling and medications during the quitting process has shown to have the highest success rates. If you are looking to quit, talk with your health-care provider about medications that may be helpful. This may be over-the- counter nicotine replacement medications or a prescription for medications shown to be effective. Additionally, get the counseling and support you need by calling or going online to the Nevada Tobacco Quitline, 1-800- QUITNOW or

Carson Tahoe Health also provides a great resource in its Freedom from Smoking classes. You can find out more at classes, or send an email to Support from friends and family can make all the difference to someone trying to quit. If you know someone who uses tobacco, encourage them to quit and support them in every step of the way. Here are some other tips from the American Cancer Society:

Spend your free time in places where smoking is not allowed
Take extra care of yourself, drink water, eat well, get enough sleep
Try to avoid alcohol, coffee, or other drinks that link you to smoking
If you miss the feeling of holding a cigarette, hold something else like a pencil, paper clip, coin, etc
If you miss having something in your mouth, try toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum, sugarless
candy, or celery
Avoid temptation by staying away from activities, people, or places you link with smoking
Make a list of important reasons you have decided to quit
Take deep breaths and relax, picture your lungs filling with clean air
Remember your goal and the urge to smoke will lessen over time
Think about how awesome it is that you are quitting and getting healthy. Be patient with yourself.
What happens when you quit smoking?
In 20 minutes your blood pressure drops and the temperature of your hands and feet return to normal. After
8 hours of quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal levels. Twenty-four hours later
your chance of a heart attack decreases.
In 2-3 months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung functions increase by 30 percent. One
month to 9 months later, the coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decreases.
One year after quitting the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. Five years later your stroke risk is
reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
After 10 years, the lung cancer rate is about half of a nonsmoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat,
esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases. Finally after 15 years, the risk of heart disease is that
of a nonsmoker.

Let’s make this happen by setting your quit date on Nov. 16.
For more information on quitting smoking check out our website at or visit us
at You can also get more information from American Cancer Society, American
Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.