Smoking cessation

Smoking is a tough habit to break, but you have the power to take control of your health. It’s never too late to quit smoking and begin a healthy, smokefree life.

If you are a current smoker and want to quit, the Smoking Cessation Clinic at Edward-Elmhurst Health is here to help. The program combines medical and behavioral therapy, and includes counseling with a nurse practitioner (Kim Rohan, RN, APN-BC, AOCN or Lauren Woodard, RN, APN-BC) virtually or at one of our cancer centers in Naperville or Plainfield. To schedule a smoking cessation appointment, call 630-646-2273 (CARE).

You can also ask your primary care physician about medications for smoking cessation. Need a primary care physician? Call our physician referral at 630-527-6363.

Health benefits of quitting smoking

There are significant health benefits of quitting smoking over time. According to the American Cancer Society, within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover.

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • A few days after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 to 12 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures (cilia) that move mucus out of the lungs start to regain normal function, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
  • 1 to 2 years after quitting: Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.
  • 5 to 10 years after quitting: Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half. Your stroke risk decreases.
  • 10 years after quitting: Your lung cancer risk is about half that of a person who is still smoking (after 10 to 15 years). Your risk of cancer of the bladder, esophagus and kidney decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting: Your coronary heart disease risk is close to that of a non-smoker.

Some other benefits of quitting smoking include:

  • Food tastes better.
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal.
  • Your breath, hair and clothes smell better.
  • Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath.
  • The appearance of your skin improves and premature wrinkling is less likely.
  • You have less risk of gum disease and tooth loss.

Having surgery? Now it is the time to quit smoking.

One of the best times to quit smoking is before surgery. Not only is your success rate much higher when you quit before your procedure, doing so now will decrease your risk of surgical complications, as smoking can negatively a­ffect the outcome of surgery.

Risks related to your procedure

Smoking is especially harmful in the time before, during and after your surgery. Smoking increases the mucus in in the airways and decreases your ability to fight infections. In turn, this increases your chance of developing pneumonia and other respiratory complications. By quitting just eight weeks before your procedure, your breathing function improves.

Additionally, the nicotine from cigarettes, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco can increase your blood pressure, heart rate and your risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat. The carbon monoxide created by smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood. Smokers also have an increased risk of blood clots and almost two times the risk of a heart attack as non-smokers.

The stronger your body and the healthier your blood pressure, heart and breathing functions are, the less likely complications will occur that will slow the healing process. Studies show that smokers have:

  • Increased wound infection and delayed wound healing after general surgery and hip and knee replacements
  • Increased tissue death after mastectomy and breast reconstruction
  • Increased incisional and repeat inguinal hernias
  • Delayed/lack of bone healing after orthopedic surgery
  • Increased tissue death and delayed healing after plastic surgery
  • Increased pain and need for pain medication after surgery

Benefits of quitting smoking before your procedure

Quitting smoking any time before surgery has value. The earlier you quit, the greater the reward:

  • 1-4 hours prior to surgery: Blood flow and oxygen increases. Levels of nicotine and carbon monoxide in your body decrease. Less chance of damage to your heart during surgery.
  • 2 weeks prior to surgery: The function of platelets and white blood cells improve, which helps you to heal more quickly.
  • 4-8 weeks prior to surgery: Lung function improves including decreased secretions and airway reactivity, lessening your chance of developing pneumonia and other respiratory complications.

Smoking cessation resources

Contact Edward-Elmhurst Health's prevention education nurses heartline at 630-527-2825.

The following are additional smoking cessation resources:

  • American Lung Association
  • Freedom from Smoking
  • Illinois Tobacco Quitline: 1-866-QUIT-YES. This is a free resource for tobacco users who want to quit for good. Registered nurses, respiratory therapists and certificated tobacco treatment counselors are on call 7 days a week, 7 am - 11 pm. Spanish-speaking counselors and live translation services are available. Visit or call 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937).
  • NCI Quitline: 1-877-448-7848
  • CDC: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

Smoking apps

  • Livestrong MyQuit Coach
  • Cessation Nation
  • Kwit
  • Get Rich or Die Smoking
  • Quit Tracker: Stop Smoking
  • QuitGuide app

Health risk assessment

Want to detect a lung problem early to breathe easier? Take our free, 5-minute Lung Aware test.

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