November 18th is the American Cancer Society’s annual quit smoking event: The Great American Smokeout. For more than 30 years, this event has been used to raise awareness of the harmful effects of smoking and encourage smokers to quit.
Smoking has been linked to a number of health problems, most notably cancer of the mouth, throat and lungs, as well as high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have Diabetes, smoking can also make managing your Diabetes more difficult by affecting your blood glucose levels, and increases the chances of developing diabetes complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy and kidney disease. In addition, smoking greatly increases the risk of heart attack among people with diabetes, who already have an elevated risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and the benefits can be felt almost immediately, but it is by no means easy. Luckily, there are a number of resources out there to help smokers who want to quit do so successfully. The American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking has tips on planning your Quit Day and strategies for staying quit, and Mass General offers a smoking cessation service for patients and community members.