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Published on December 23, 2014

Making a Fresh Start in the New Year

from Smoking

The next eight-week session begins Thursday, January 8, at Palos Primary Care Center, 15300 West Ave., Orland Park. 

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Every January 1, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. We pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables. We plan to get more active and exercise. While we have the best of intentions to create a healthier lifestyle, it won’t make much of a dent in your health if you smoke.

According to the American Lung Association (ALA), smoking cessation is the single most important step a smoker can take to improve the length or quality of his or her life.

Not only will choosing to quit smoking reduce your risk of a smoking-related illness, but according to the ALA, there are many other benefits, including:

12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Risk of having a heart attack begins to drop. Lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 year after quitting: Added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

These are just the benefits that occur during the first year. Additional benefits continue to take place up to 15 years after quitting.

Research shows people who participate in stop-smoking programs with a support system have greater success compared to those who try to quit on their own. To help smokers quit, Palos Community Hospital is launching the ALA’s Freedom from Smoking, a program for adults who are ready to quit smoking.