You Can Stop Smoking
When I was growing up, my Dad smoked. Actually, he smoked a lot. Then one day, he suddenly became very sick, was rushed to the hospital, and underwent life-saving surgery. Once he finally left the hospital, he never smoked again. I knew it was difficult for him to stop, but I didn’t know how difficult. Even after twenty years of being smoke free, he repeatedly told me, a day didn’t go by that he didn’t crave a cigarette.
Most people are now aware that smoking increases their risk of developing numerous health problems including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. In my specialty, urology, smoking has been been linked with a wide variety of conditions including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and erectile dysfunction. I encourage all of my patients to stop smoking and, as part of their care, I want to help them find the tools and resources they need to successfully stop smoking.
As Soon as You Stop Smoking, Your Body Starts to Recover
It is important to understand that your body can, over time, recover from many of the harmful health effects of smoking. In this video, Dr. Travis Stork (no relation) does a nice job of outlining not only the general health risks associated with smoking, but he also explains how your body begins to recover, and your health starts to improve, when you decide to stop.
Don’t Wait for a Health Issue to Stop Smoking
The ideal time to stop smoking is while you are completely healthy. If you are reading this and currently find yourself in good health, now is the time to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to develop a plan to stop smoking.
Helpful Tips, Tools and Resources to Stop Smoking
The State of Michigan offers a resource for patients called the “Michigan Smoker’s Quit Kit”. The kit is best thought of as a “toolbox” that contains the tools you will need to stop smoking for good. The kit breaks the process of giving up the habit down into three Steps, each with 10 Phases. The resource is very well-written and, best of all, it’s free!
Beyond the resources provided by the State of Michigan, here are some other resources that you might find helpful as you begin to think about the process of smoking cessation.
It’s Best to Quit Before Surgery
Like my Dad, many patients wait for a health issue before they consider smoking cessation. If you have a health problem that requires elective surgery, we encourage you to stop smoking 4 to 6 weeks before your scheduled surgery. If you are able to then remain smoke-free following surgery, you will significantly reduce your risks of complications from anesthesia, and decrease your chances of wound complications following surgery.
The American College of Surgeons has created a useful online resource with helpful suggestions on how to stop smoking prior to surgery. The link also suggests ways to stay smoke-free following surgery.
It wasn’t easy for him, but I was proud of my Dad when he stopped smoking.
I bet your family will be proud and supportive of you as well when you choose to give up smoking for good.