Give Up Smoking for Good

Give Up Smoking for Good

One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking or using any kind of tobacco. Quitting isn’t easy, but the rewards make it worth the effort. People who quit smoking before they turn 50 cut their risk of dying within the next 15 years by half.

With that in mind, the American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout every year. Held on the third Thursday of November, the event encourages smokers to take action and make a plan to quit. Many smokers even quit that day.

You don't have to wait until November to quit. You can start on New Year’s Day, your birthday, the first day of spring or any day you choose. 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. Like many medical diseases, COPD can become worse over time. If you quit smoking, it can slow that process. Smoking causes inflammation in the lungs and reduces the amount of oxygen that flows through them. Smoking also damages air sacs in the lungs and causes them to lose their elasticity. As a result, smokers have a harder time breathing and shortness of breath.

Smokers experience coughing and wheezing, too. If you continue to smoke, it will cause more damage to your lungs. Your symptoms can grow worse much faster. You could quickly find it more difficult to perform simple everyday activities such as taking a shower or even cleaning your home.

Studies show smokers are more likely to become sick with the flu than those who don’t smoke. They are also more likely to get pneumonia. While healthy people are able to more easily make a full recovery from flu and pneumonia, it’s harder for people with COPD. In fact, COPD can make any illness very serious and lead to major complications.

Talk with your doctor about quitting. There are many aids and resources available to help you successfully give up smoking.

Your health plan can help you quit by covering the cost of medicine and counseling to support you. Even if you’re not ready to quit, knowing your costs will be covered may inspire you to do so in the near future.

Find out if you’re currently eligible to enroll in the Tobacco Cessation Program.* Call 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. Join people across the country who are committed to quit smoking with the help and support of the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout.

Sources: Great American Smokeout, leaving site icon American Cancer Society, 2021; Basics About COPD, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.
*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.

Originally published 11/16/2016; Revised 2018, 2021

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