Healthy lifestyle after quitting smoking offers many benefits

Smoking and health

Nov. 17 is the Great American Smokeout, a day held every year to help encourage people to quit smoking.

According to a recent study, those who quit and go on to adopt a healthy lifestyle can reduce their risk of death.

“It shows that it’s not just about quitting smoking. It’s really about making these amazing lifestyle changes that will carry you through and really will lower your cardiovascular risk, cardiovascular mortality and death from other things such as cancers and respiratory diseases, as well,” said Neha Vyas, M.D., family medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers in the study found that former smokers who were stricter with their body weight, diet, physical activity and alcohol intake had a lower risk for death, cancer and other diseases. And that was regardless of previous smoking patterns.

Vyas said people may need to try multiple times before successfully quitting smoking. However, she encourages smokers to not give up.

She’ll often tell her patients to avoid any triggering environments where they’d be tempted to smoke, like at a bar or party.

It can also be helpful to build a support system, so you’re held accountable.

“It’s important to remember that it can sometimes take more than one attempt to quit smoking altogether, so certainly get support from your family, your friends, health care professionals. There are many resources out there,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million adults still smoke cigarettes.