It is estimated that smoking is responsible for 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canada and it remains the leading cause of lung cancer in Canadians. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more you increase your risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, any smoking at all may cause lung damage over time. Quitting isn’t easy but it’s worth it. Within 10 years of quitting, an ex-smoker’s overall risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half. If you stop smoking your body will immediately start to cleanse itself of tobacco poisons. Oxygen levels in your blood increase and carbon monoxide levels drop within eight hours, your sense of smell and taste begin to improve after two days, coughing, sinus congestion and the tiredness and shortness of breath improve within six months. What’s more, your risk of a smokingrelated heart attack is reduced by half after one year. Recently, the British House of Commons approved final regulations for plain packaging for tobacco products. The law will come into effect on May 20, 2016. With plain packaging, all tobacco company logos, colours, graphics and promotional features are banned but health warnings remain. Special package formats, such as super-slim packages targeting women, are also banned. Britain is the third country to bring in this type of legislation. Australia implemented plain packaging in 2012. In Ireland, legislation was signed by the Irish president on March 10 and it will come into force on May 20, 2016. France and New Zealand are in the process of adopting legislation, while Norway, Finland and Sweden are formally considering the measure. The single best thing you can do to improve your health is to quit smoking and the Canadian Cancer Society can help. The Smokers’ Helpline is a free confidential service that can help you develop a quit program, provide tips to deal with cravings and withdrawal symptoms and refer youto support services in your community. Visit quitnow. ca or call at 1-877-455- 2233. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ivana Topic is a volunteer with Canadian Cancer Society, Quesnel branch.