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Your Healthy Family: Why you should quit smoking

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Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year.

We're continuing with New Year’s resolutions in Your Healthy Family.  It’s not as popular as losing weight or getting fit, but another common resolution for many people is quitting smoking.  The CDC says smoking rates in our country are on the decline overall, but that doesn’t change the fact that when someone does decided to quit, it can be a real challenge.  

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. and it accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year.

Dr. Ian Tullberg is the Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth.  “Every year we see it so often in medicine, that so many people are coming in usually because they're a little bit unhealthy, or there have been coughing and so the answer to the question do you smoke, of yes does surprise me.  Considering how much we now know about smoking and how horrible it is for you,it really just shocks me that some people seem to continue to want to do it.”

Dr. Tullberg says for most smokers, having the desire to quit is a key ingredient to getting it done.  “It's incredibly addicting.  It can be a very difficult thing for folks to understand the addictive nature of smoking especially for those of us who aren't addicted to smoking.  Many times people can't control the urge to smoke, unless you get help.  The number one thing is you need, is to be willing or able to quit, if you don't want to quit, it's pointless and you're not going to push people into quitting.”

While lung cancer may be the first health concern that comes to people’s mind when it comes to smoking,  Dr. Tullberg says the damaging effects of smoking go far beyond your lungs.  “You could pretty much say everything, because of the damage smoking does to your blood vessels.  Vessels go to your kidneys, your brain, your skin.  Any organ is going to have vessels going to it that are affected by smoking so really if you look at it could be any part of the body ultimately could be affected.  You could start getting some really significant constriction of vessels in your fingertips, they turn white and they can be more susceptible to frostbite that could be due to smoking - so you're really looking at the whole gamut.”

As we continue through January we'll be talking more about New Year's resolutions to help you meet your goals.

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