COLORADO SPRINGS – Thursday, November 15th was this year’s Great American Smokeout. It’s a day meant to encourage smokers to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives and not just for a day, but year-round.
Dr. Crystal Erickson is a thoracic surgeon with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs who says, “Smoking remains the largest single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the United States and in the world. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in the United States per year,and about 16 million Americans currently live with a smoking-related illness.”
These days, the dangers and of smoking also extend to vaping despite a common myth that it’s healthier than smoking. “These aren’t just harmless water vapors; they contain numerous chemicals, such as known carcinogens, heavy metals, and nicotine. The CDC recently released a study showing that Colorado leads the country in the number of teens using e-cigarettes and vaping.”
And Dr. Erickson says Colorado doesn’t just stand out in terms of the number of teens vaping. There are also the dangers of smoking legal marijuana. “Similar to tobacco, smoking marijuana has carcinogens and it also causes respiratory illnesses. In fact the way that marijuana is smoked (inhaled, and held in) it deposits three to four times the amount of tar within your lungs than smoking a traditional cigarette.”
If you want to kick any of these smoking habits, knowing what it’s going to take and having realistic expectations is half the battle. Dr. Erickson says, “Some studies show sometimes a person will have to try seven times before they’re successful.”
In our next Your Healthy Family, we’ll talk with Dr. Erickson talks about the many resources available here in southern Colorado to help people quite smoking.
UCHealth Memorial is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family