Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Quit the Habit for Good

Here are some of the health benefits you can expect when you quit:

20 minutes: Blood pressure drops to the level you had before your last cigarette and the temperature of your hands and feet returns to normal.

24 hours: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.

1 to 9 months: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease: cilia regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.

1 year: Chance of having a heart attack is cut in half.

5 years: Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

You know it's time. Your family, friends and coworkers have asked you to stop. You're spending more and more money when you know it's not healthy. Take the opportunity to quit the tobacco habit for good this November during the Annual Great American Smokeout, and reward yourself with a longer, healthier life.

Each year, the Great American Smokeout serves as a platform to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, plan ahead to quit on that day or quit for at least that one day. If you decide this is the time for you to quit, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi is here to help! Our "tobacco-free" Program provides covered members with up to 90 days of tobacco cessation therapy, including support from the Tobacco Quitline, visits with a "be smoke-free" Network Provider and medication and/or nicotine replacement therapy. Learn more about the "Be smoke-free" Program for individuals and tips on quitting.

Quitting tobacco is an important step in reducing your risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Tobacco use is still the single most preventable cause of disease and early death in the U.S., and Mississippi has one of the highest smoking rates in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22.7 percent of the population in Mississippi (more than 493,000 people) are current smokers. The good news is, many of those have attempted to quit for at least one day over the past year. Quitting smoking and tobacco use can be difficult, but there are many resources available to help make it easier and increase your chance of success. The health benefits are immediate and continue to improve over time (See sidebar). Right away, you may notice your breath smells better, teeth become whiter, food tastes better, sense of smell returns to normal and everyday activities become easier.

Being tobacco-free can also benefit businesses. Those who do not smoke can enjoy a healthier work environment and may even encourage smokers to cut back or quit. Healthier employees are more productive, miss less work and have lower healthcare costs. Learn more about creating a tobacco-free workplace on our website.

Quitting smoking and tobacco use is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself and your family. The American Cancer Society's website features a complete section on quitting smoking that can provide you with the information you need to quit the habit for good.

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