According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, even though there has been a decline in smoking, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the U.S. – and smoking is still the Most Common cause for Lung Cancer.
- About 237,000 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed every year – and smoking contributes to the cause in about 80 percent of these cases.
- The risk increases with the number of years and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
- Secondhand smoke from tobacco is also a risk and may cause about 7,000 lung cancers each year.
What can you do to help bring those numbers down? The most important thing you can do is encourage people you spend time with in your everyday life to stop smoking.
Why Is Quitting So Hard?
Advocating for your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family members to quit smoking can feel almost impossible. This is because quitting smoking comes with two highly problematic challenges.
- The first challenge is overcoming the nicotine challenge. Nicotine is the main addictive drug used in tobacco and it has a startling impact on the brain. Nicotine triggers the release of chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. When trying to quit smoking, one of the biggest challenges a smoker will have is the reprogramming of the brain. It sounds hard right? It is, but it can be done.
- The second challenge for a smoker is to replace smoking with healthier habits and daily routines. Many smokers treat cigarettes like a best buddy. When they head outside, they take a cigarette. When they wake up, the look for a cigarette, when they switch from one activity to another, they stop to smoke a cigarette. Replacing the habit and routine of smoking can be done but it takes time and perseverance.
How Can You Help?
November has been dedicated as Lung Cancer Awareness month. The goal is to build awareness and to educate. You already have an awareness that smoking is the leading cause of cancer. To advocate, you will need to spend time educating yourself on the challenges of quitting smoking.
- People who want to stop smoking often don’t understand the challenges of quitting and how to overcome those challenges. The more you know about how nicotine affects the brain, the more you will be able to help others be more successful in their efforts to quit smoking.
Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. With a little bit of self-education, you can empower your friends, family members, coworkers, and others to quit smoking.