DO WHAT YOU
WANT TO DO
Gord Ferguson has experienced
the cardiovascular improvements
that come with quitting smoking.
When he quit smoking at 35 years
old, after 17 years of puffing,
the first thing he noticed was his
cardiovascular capacity improved.
“I found out very quickly that
I could do all the activities I love
without getting out of breath,”
Now almost 60 years old,Ferguson is a poster boy for fitness.He regularly goes on back-countryski trips, bike rides and hikes thatare more strenuous than those inhis youth.
“Looking at my smoking friends
Pass on your choice
now,” Ferguson says, “I know
I wouldn’t be able to do anything
I love to do if I wouldn’t have quit
And he passed a heart fitness
test with results that a teenager
would envy: in the excellent range
for 15- to 19-year-olds.
When you don’t smoke, your familyand friends are less likely to smoke.
Youth with a family member anda best friend who use tobaccohave a 90 per cent greater chanceof smoking than youth who don’t.
HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH
As a smoker, John Dunn was influenced by the attitude towards tobacco use.
He noticed the graphic images on cigarette packages and heard the public
service announcements. He couldn’t ignore new government regulations on
“It became a dirty secret. You couldn’t smoke around people and I certainly
never smoked around the kids. There was shame,” he says. “When I quit
smoking that shame went away.”
When he quit four years ago, he noticed almost immediately that his mental
health improved. He felt more in control of his life. “I felt that if I could quit
smoking, then I could do anything,” he says.
The feeling is common: many people who quit smoking say cigarettes used
to control their lives.
“I stopped hacking and I quit choking when I laughed. I literally got my laugh
back,” says Dunn.
He says being tobacco free for four years is a big deal to him and he’s
looking forward to celebrating 15 years. That’s when statistics say Dunn has
virtually the same risk of experiencing a smoke-related heart attack as a
“Then I’ll remind myself of what I’ve accomplished,” he says.
For anyone who’s ever smoked,the effects of quitting are nearlyimmediate and certainly long-lasting,says Health Canada.
Within 20 minutes of quitting yourblood pressure drops to a levelsimilar to what it was beforeyour last cigarette.
Within eight hours, the carbonmonoxide level drops in your bodyand the oxygen level in your bloodincreases to normal.
Within 48 hours, your chances ofhaving a heart attack start to godown and your sense of smell andtaste begin to improve.
Within 72 hours, your lung capacityincreases and breathing becomeseasier.
Within two weeks to three months,blood circulation improves andyour lung function increases upto 30 per cent.
Within six months, coughing,sinus congestion, tiredness andshortness of breath improve.Within one year, your risk ofsuffering a smoking-related heartattack is cut in half. So is yourchance of getting cancer in yourmouth, throat, esophagus, bladder,kidney and pancreas.
Within five years you have thesame chance of having a strokeas a non-smoker.
Within 10 years, your risk of dyingfrom lung cancer is cut in half.Within 15 years, your risk of dyingfrom a heart attack is equal toa person who never smoked.
What’s more, any one at any age canexperience a health benefit when theygive up cigarettes and other tobaccoproducts.
Every minute, hour, month, year counts
KEEP YOUR TEETH IN
Non-smokers have a reduced riskof many oral health issues suchas oral cancers (about 75 per centof which are related to smoking),periodontal disease, mouth sores,gum disease and tooth loss.
Being tobacco free also makes
it much easier to keep your teeth
whiter and your breath fresher.