Quitting smoking is supposed to immediately improve lung function.  After a year of no smoking a former smoker’ lungs are just as pink and healthy as if they had never smoked.  When you have not smoked for twelve months your Health Insurance Premiums will drop anywhere from 10% to 25%.  Some folks who have high blood pressure, smoke, and elevated lipids have found themselves denied any Health Plans by the carriers.  Once you are smoke free for one year you should be able to buy health plans.  Also, once you quit smoking, if you have a high deductible health plan, you may be able to afford to lower the deductible so you will have to pay less out of pocket if you become hospitalized.  For those of you who have a senior health plan and still smoke there may be some things required of you.  For instance if you require stents because of artery blockages, the doctors will not perform the surgery until you quit smoking.

There are many methods used for quitting smoking.   Having said that JAMA, or the Journal of the American Medical Association, has some interesting statistics.  “Smoking cessation methods used by adult smokers in the United States who tried to quit shows that about 90% of successful quitters and 80% of unsuccessful quitters used individual methods of smoking cessation rather that organized programs.  Most of these smokers who quit on their own used a “cold t urkey” approach.”  The report goes on to say “among smokers who had attempted cessation within the previous 10 years, 47.5% of persons who tried to quit on their own were successful whereas only 23.6% of persons who used cessation programs succeeded.  We conclude that cessation programs serve a small, but important, population of smokers that includes heavier smokers, those most at risk for tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.”

The data for this report was gathered in 1986 from the Adult Use of Tobacco Survey.

The report was written in 1990.  Why is this important?  It has been in the news lately that a smoking cessation drug, called Chantix made by Pfizer, may cause some health problems.  In a report from International Business Times  Chantix has been linked to an increased risk in heart attacks, strokes, and related cardiovascular diseases for smokers.  This was report was released in a Canadian journal on Monday, July 4th, 2011. “In the report published by the Canadian Medical Association, smokers who did not use the drug were compared to individuals who suffered from heart related diseases.  Researchers, who reviewed 14 studies on Chantix, found a 72 percent increase in cardio cases compared to smokers taking a placebo.”  Pfizer,the drug manufacturer, has said that their analysis was based on too little of heart or cardiovascular cases to draw conclusions about the risks.  Chantix has been on the market since May of 2006.