Smoking Cessation

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Smoking Cessation

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

Smoking Cessation is the process of quitting the use of tobacco products. Nicotine is the addictive additive that causes smoking dependence. Quitting nicotine will cause withdrawals, especially in the first few weeks. The smoking cessation process prepares individuals for the process and consists of cessation medication, education, coaching and resources to achieve quitting.

According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States (US). It causes Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, Lung Disease and Diabetes. However, the tobacco use epidemic can be stopped and the risk of developing these diseases dramatically decreases the longer a person avoids smoking.

According to the CDC:

  • 1 year after quitting smoking, the risk of Heart Disease decreases by 50%.
  • 2-3 years after quitting smoking, the risk of death by heart disease declines 24%.
  • 5 years after quitting smoking, the risk of mouth, esophageal, throat, and bladder cancer is reduced by 50%.
  • 10 years after quitting smoking, the risk of lung cancer decreases by 50-70%.
  • 15 years after quitting smoking, the risk of lung cancer and life expectancy is the same as a non-smoker.

Tobacco use causes smokers to die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. These early deaths can be prevented and avoided. Smoking cessation is beneficial at any age; it is never too late to quit smoking. 

South Dakota (SD) tobacco use statistics from CDC:smokingcessation

  • Approximately 1,300 people die from tobacco-related illnesses per year in SD. That is about 3 people per day.
  • 19% of the adult population smokes tobacco. The national average is 16.1%.
  • Smokeless tobacco use is also higher than the national average at 6.9% compared to 4.1% in the US adult population.

Evidence suggests that all smokers trying to quit could benefit from some form of pharmacotherapy, which is prescribed or over the counter medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Because of the addictive chemicals in tobacco, it is harder to quit abruptly without a plan or resources in place for support. Most smokers have failed attempts because of their fear of failure, fear of weight gain, and their lack of knowledge and support.

One of the first things individuals can do to quit smoking is to make a plan. Not for today, but for example, creating a plan for two weeks from now or on a special date.  Challenges like the nicotine withdrawals must be anticipated; having a plan in place to control them will help. Individuals are not only quitting the addiction, but also quitting the habit. Developing new habits to break the old ones is important. Finding something to occupy your hands such as squeezing a stress ball, working on puzzles, or writing in a journal can also help. As mentioned before, being prepared will increase the odds of a successful outcome. Other important steps to stop smoking is adapting physical activity and a healthy diet, asking for support from family, friends, and coworkers, removing tobacco products from common places (car, home, purse, etc.), and choosing something as a reward for quitting and/or a reward plan for milestones (2 week, 6 months, 1 year etc.).

Smoking cessation is the most important thing for smokers to do in order to protect their health now and in the future. Remember, it is never too late to quit smoking. There are resources available to help with the process:

SD quit line: Call 1-866-737-8487 or visit

Prairie Lakes Pulmonology Clinic: 605-882-7777

Written by Jessica Winterboer, Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner, Pulmonary Disease and Smoking Cessation Educator
Last modified on Tuesday, May 17, 2022