Smoking and other tobacco use put you at risk for several chronic conditions. Break free! 

According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.

If you quit smoking, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily and have more energy. You’ll have extra money for spending or saving, and food will taste better. When you quit smoking, you join over a million people who stop smoking each year.

Through TIPS (Tobacco-free Individualized Plans), CoxHealth offers a variety of tobacco cessation opportunities in Springfield, Branson, Monett and surrounding communities. Check our calendar for class dates and times near you, or contact us today.

  • Free weekly support group. Join anytime.
  • Individual counseling, 30-minute sessions.
  • Beat the Pack (4 one-hour classes)
  • Freedom from Smoking (8 one-hour classes)
  • More

Statistics show that tobacco use is higher in Taney County than in any other county in Missouri. Jim Brawner, Mayo Clinic certified tobacco treatment specialist, offers a 7-week tobacco cessation course. Class size is limited and registration is required; scholarships are available to assist with the $80 course fee which includes class materials and nicotine replacement therapy.

What Smoking Does

Cigarette smoke damages your lungs and airways. Air passages swell and, over time, you’ll have more and more trouble clearing mucus from your air passages. This can cause a cough that won't go away, which sometimes leads to a lung disease called chronic bronchitis. If you keep smoking, normal breathing may become harder as emphysema develops. In emphysema, your lung tissue is destroyed, making it very hard to get enough oxygen.

Smoking can shorten your life. It brings an early death to more than 400,000 people in the United States each year. Lifelong smokers have a 1 in 2 chance of dying from a smoking-related disease. Smoking cuts years off the end of your life. Smoking makes millions of Americans sick by causing:

  • Heart disease. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol (a fatty substance in the blood) and also smoke, you increase your chance of having a heart attack. Quitting will greatly lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Cancer. Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs, mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. Your chance of getting cancer increases with the more cigarettes you smoke each day and the more years you smoke.
  • Respiratory problems. If you smoke, you are more likely than a non-smoker to get the flu (influenza), pneumonia or other infections that can interfere with your breathing.
  • Osteoporosis. If you are an older woman who smokes, your chance of developing osteoporosis is greater. Women who are past menopause tend to lose bone strength and sometimes develop this bone-weakening disorder. Bones weakened by osteoporosis break more easily. Also, women smokers tend to begin menopause sooner than the average woman, putting them at risk for osteoporosis at an earlier age.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Whether you’re young or old, it's not too late to quit. If you quit you’ll reduce your chance of cancer, heart attack and lung disease; improve your circulation; gain an improved sense of smell and taste; and set a healthy example for your children and grandchildren.

What Happens When You Quit

After 20 Minutes

Your blood pressure and pulse decrease, and the temperature of your hands and feet increases.

After 8 Hours

The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal and oxygen levels in your blood increase.

After 24 Hours

Your risk of heart attack decreases.

After 48 Hours

Your nerve endings adjust to the absence of nicotine and your ability to taste and smell begin to return.

After 2 Weeks - 3 Months

Your circulation and exercise tolerance improves.

After 1 - 9 Months

Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease and your overall energy level increases.

After 1 Year

Your risk of heart disease decreases to half that of a current smoker.

After 5 - 15 Years

Your risk of stroke is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

After 10 Years

Your risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost the same rate as a lifelong NON-smoker.

After 15 Years

Your risk of heart disease is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

Breaking the Addiction

Smoking is a strong addiction for both your body and mind. Each person is different. Find what works best for you. Sometimes combining several methods is the answer. Some people can stop on their own. Others - maybe you - need help from doctors, clinics or organized groups. To quit smoking, you must be ready emotionally and mentally. You must also want to quit smoking for yourself, and not to please your friends or family. There is help. You can:

  • ask your physician for help
  • use individual or group counseling
  • join a support group
  • ask a friend to quit with you
  • take medicine to help with nicotine withdrawal
  • use nicotine replacement therapy.

When the urge to smoke strikes, remember the 5 Ds:

Delay until the craving to smoke passes. Most urges pass within three to five minutes.

Distract yourself by shifting your attention away from thoughts of smoking. Go for a walk, work on a crossword puzzle or do something else you enjoy.

Drink water to beat your cravings. You may be surprised by how well it works.

Take deep breaths to help you relax and release the stress of early smoking cessation. Close your eyes, breathe in slowly for a count of three and exhale for a count of three. Repeat.

Discuss your feelings with a friend or loved one, or other ex-smokers.

Secondhand Smoke

If you’re around someone who smokes, you could be exposed to secondhand smoke from his or her cigarette, pipe or cigar. We now know that secondhand smoke can make non-smokers sick. Adults who don't smoke but live or work with smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer than other non-smokers.

Cigars, Pipes, Chewing Tobacco and Snuff Are Not Safe

Some people think smokeless tobacco (chewing or spit tobacco and snuff), pipes and cigars are safe. They aren’t. Using smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the mouth, pre-cancerous lesions known as oral leukoplakia, nicotine addiction and possibly cancer of the larynx and esophagus, as well as gum problems. Pipe and cigar smokers may develop cancer of the mouth, lip, larynx, pharynx, esophagus and bladder. Those who inhale are also at an increased risk for lung cancer.