Study: Quitting smoking increases life span up to 10 years

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24 2013 6:30 p.m. MST

Use rates across the state have gone down since 2010, when lawmakers increased the cigarette tax from 69.5 cents to $1.70 per pack. Also making an impact on smoking rates in the state, Utah's Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in public buildings and the health department's media campaign has been strong for some time, providing access to services that other communities don't have, Oliver said.

She said a support system of family and friends is an important factor to succeed at quitting. Counselors also tell clients that fighting the craving to smoke for as little as 10 minutes by substituting a different activity can help beat the habit.

"Trying again and again is one of the most successful things that people can do," she said. "That, and sticking with it. If they fail, do not give up."

Health department data suggest that more than $663 million is lost each year in Utah to smoking-related medical costs and lost productivity, and more than 1,100 people die each year from smoking-related causes.

Price said he didn't realize the health impacts smoking had on his body but started noticing that he couldn't keep up with his kids without losing his breath or wheezing during physical activity. He often worried about what long-term effects smoking might have and he blamed every sickness he went through on the habit.

Since quitting, he said, physical activity is more enjoyable and "my teeth aren't yellow anymore and my breath isn't atrocious."

"It's one of the things I can say I am really proud of," he said. "Just like any other addiction, the only person you can do it for is yourself. It won't work if you try and quit for other people."

In addition to his physical stamina, Price is happy the family has been more financially stable without him spending so much on cigarettes, and, in general, he said he knows he is better to be around.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com

Twitter: wendyleonards

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