Reasons to quit smoking today, according to respiratory therapist

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Health professionals across the country are encouraging smokers to take part in the American Cancer Society’s national Great American Smokeout campaign November 19th by committing to quit smoking.

Bon Secours respiratory therapist Michele Sawyer often tells patients that your body is like a house, that organs are like rooms in the house and that your veins are like plumbing.

“If you’re clogging that flow, electrical or blood flow from smoking, then you are actually causing damage to those organs that the blood needs to flow to,” she said.

That’s why long term smoking and vaping can cause a myriad of issues, such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart conditions and many forms of cancer, she explained.

“When the cells aren’t functioning at their most optimal, they can become cancerous and that’s not just in the lungs.

She added that the decrease in oxygen to various organs also causes reproductive problems, such as fertility complications in men. For mothers smoking in the womb, she said it results in an increased risk of SIDS to the baby due to the baby’s dependence on nicotine in the womb and nicotine withdrawal after birth.

Smoking also affects your appearance, she said, in wrinkles, discoloration and tooth decay.

“When the tissue is not alive and healthy and not getting the good oxygen it needs because of the smoke or nicotine, it doesn’t work right and it decays,” she said.

Sawyer also believes smokers have a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.

“If you’re smoking and you get the virus it could be a double whammy,” she said.

If you are a smoker and want to improve your health, Sawyer urges you to quit today and highly recommends joining a support group.

“It’s the emotional attachment and habits we form when we smoke that are hardest to break.,” she said.

Sawyer said there is a success rate of more than 90 percent for those who take part in Bon Secours’ Quit Smart Smoking Cessation program.

To enroll, call (864) 400-3651 and explain that you are interested in taking the QuitSmart Smoking Cessation class. Dates and times of meetings are dependent on the level of participation, due to COVID-19 precautions.

For other American Cancer Society resources in your area, click here.

To submit a health question for our series, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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