Sometimes, it’s good to be known as a quitter. In a society that values commitment and follow-through, smoking is something that you can actually be proud to quit. Smoking affects every system and organ of the entire body, and each cigarette contains over 7,000 chemicals that harm your body. These chemicals increase the risk for heart disease, blood vessel disease, stroke, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer, as well as many other conditions.
Smoking definitely has an effect on colon cancer risk. Besides smoking, other risk factors for colon cancer are being over 50 years of age (or 45 years of age if you are African American), obesity, family history of colon cancer and/or colon polyps, sedentary lifestyle, inflammatory bowel disease, high-fat diet and alcohol. Current and former smokers are more likely to develop colon cancer than nonsmokers, and people who have smoked for over 40 years or people who did not quit before the age of 40 have a 30 to 50 percent increased risk for developing colon cancer.
Scientists are unclear whether smoking is an independent risk factor for colon cancer because smoking is usually linked to other risk factors such as high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and increased alcohol intake. The good news is that research has not found a connection between colon cancer and smokers who quit before the age of 40 or who hadn’t smoked for 31 years or more. This is encouraging news for smokers who want to quit!
Sometimes, we know the right thing to do, but we don’t know how to do it. The American Cancer Society has appointed the third Thursday in November (November 21) as the Great American Smokeout, a day that smokers can make a commitment to stop smoking. About 48.3 million Americans are smokers, and the Great American Smokeout is seeking to reduce that number this year by offering support to those who want to quit.
The American Cancer Society has effective programs to help you quit smoking and provides support and resources to those who want to take a step toward a healthier life. Today, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you smoke, make a promise to yourself that you will quit smoking on November 21 (Source: cancer.org). You will decrease your risk for colon cancer, and within moments your body will begin to restore itself. So decide to kick the habit of smoking on November 21. Quitting has never felt so good!