MELROSE PARK, Ill., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- For those needing a bit more motivation to quit smoking, a U.S. physician suggests focusing on the thousands of dollars a smoker will keep in his or her pocket.
Dr. Carlos Reynes of Loyola University Health System's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital said at $7 to $9 a pack, those with a pack-a-day habit spend about $2,500 to $3,300 each year.
"Improved health also will save you trips to the doctor," Reynes said in a statement.
But not only do the wealth benefits kick in immediately, so do the health benefits, Reynes said.
"Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal," Reynes said. "One year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker's."
The Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 17 -- a day sponsored by the American Cancer Society to end smoking -- is expected to have thousands of smokers take a 24-hour break from cigarettes, Reynes said.
"The good news is that U.S. smoking rates are declining," Reynes said. "From 1965 to 2006, smoking rates fell by half, falling from 42 percent to 20.8 percent of adults and we will continue to do even better through education and incentives."
Hypnosis and acupuncture, as well as nicotine patches and chewing gums, are just a few of the successful tools out there to help smokers kick the habit, Reynes said.
"The important step is to make the effort to quit and if you are unsuccessful, to keep trying different techniques," Reynes said.