News | Nov. 21, 2016

Quit smoking: it is never too late

By Joseph Gangemi 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Established November of 1995, Lung Cancer Awareness Month has been used to raise awareness when it comes to quitting and the health risks that are associated with smoking.

According to the Center for Disease Control, every year 200,000 people are diagnosed and 150,000 people die from lung cancer, which is the leading cause of death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the U.S. While smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of lung cancer it is also linked to 90 percent of all lung cancers diagnosed.

"Quitting smoking is part of looking at ones overall health. " said Shannon Fulcrod, McDonald Army Health Center Health Center internal behavior health consultant. “There are major changes when one quits smoking.”

According to the American Lung Association, the leading cause of lung cancer can be found in the smoke from tobacco cigarettes, which contain thousands of harmful chemicals and at least 70 of which have been proven to be cancer-causing agents. These chemicals impact every organ they come in contact with.

Smoking can cause a multitude of diseases; from minor health issues like a cough to life threatening disorders such as lung cancer and heart disease. Smoking tobacco is the largest avoidable cause of death around the globe.

There are other conventional methods that are becoming more popular when it comes to recreational smoking.

The emergence of e-cigarettes and vaping are the newest trends and have taken the smoking industry by storm.

Electronic-cigarettes are battery operated inhalers comprised of a rechargeable battery, a cartridge called a cartomizer, and a light-emitting diode on the end of the device that mirrors the end of a cigarette when smoked. Alternately, vaping is defined as the act of inhaling water vapor through a personal vaporizer or electronic cigarette. When users draw on the device, the battery heats the liquid, which is then atomized into an inhalable vapor.

The idea that these electronic devices are thought to be less harmful to smokers than regular cigarettes.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, studies showed e-cig users are 5 to 15 times more likely to get formaldehyde-related cancer from vaping at high temperatures commonly referred to as “popcorn lung.” The study also indicates that vaping has not been found to be any better than smoking cigarettes.

“The most important thing you can do to lower your lung cancer risks is to quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke,” said Monica Richardson, 633rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion coordinator.

Education, Training and Research literature available at the Shellbank Fitness Center states, when considering quitting smoking, the benefits of being smoke free start immediately. Within the first three days, your oxygen in your blood starts to increase, nerve endings start to regrow, and your lung capacity starts to increase, making your breathing easier.

“Behavioral change and health risks have a significant role when it comes to change,” said Richardson. “Asking for support, managing stress, eating well and staying active are key factors in changing your lifestyle habits,”

Smoking cessation classes are a one-time enrollment and are available every other Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 1p.m. at the Shellbank Fitness Center, and every second Wednesday of the month at health management, at the MAHC from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. With proper coordination for one-on-one sessions are also available to accommodate members’ work schedules.

 For more information on smoking cessation, please contact the Langley AFB, Health Promotion Coordinator’s office at 764-8139 or the McDonald Army Health Center’s Health Management at Fort Eustis at 314-7612. 

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