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One of the best things to do for your health is to quit smoking or using other kinds of tobacco. Although it is not easy to quit, it can be done. People who quit smoking before the age of 50 have an added bonus in that they cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years by half.*
With that in mind, the American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout every year on the third Thursday of November. The event is used as a way to encourage smokers to take action and plan to quit, even to quit smoking that day! But you don't have to wait until November to make a commitment to quit. You can resolve to it in January, or make a promise to yourself for another important date in your life. The important thing is to set a date and get support.
Even if you've been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it's still important to stop smoking. COPD is a disease that can become worse over time. If you quit smoking, you can slow down the process. Smoking causes inflammation in the lungs, and allows less oxygen to flow through. Smoking can also damage air sacs in the lungs and cause your lungs to lose elasticity. This causes you to have hard time breathing and feel shortness of breath. You may also have coughing, and wheezing. If you continue to smoke, it will cause more damage to your lungs. Your symptoms can then become worse quicker than if you quit. Your symptoms can get in the way of doing everyday activities such as cleaning your home or taking a shower.
Studies show that smokers are more likely to become sick with the flu or to get pneumonia. Healthy people may be able to fight off the flu or pneumonia and make a full recovery. When you have COPD these illnesses can be serious and can lead to major health problems.
You should talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. There are resources and aids to help you successfully give up smoking.
Your health plan can help you quit smoking by covering the cost of counseling and medications to help you stop. Even if you’re not ready to quit smoking today, it may help you to know that your costs will be covered.
Find out if you’re currently eligible to enroll in the Tobacco Cessation Program** by calling 866-412-8795 or the number on your member ID card. Have your ID card handy and follow the prompts. Be sure to select the Lifestyle Management option.
From now until Nov. 16, join all the others across the country in committing to quit smoking in support of the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012
**The tobacco cessation program is available to members who have coverage through their employers and access to Blue Care Connection. For more complete details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions, please refer to your certificate of coverage. You may also talk to your HR department or call the customer service number on your member ID card.
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