Although the percentage of smokers in the US has declined steadily since the mid-60s, almost 21% of adults still light up. 41% of them try to quit, but less than 5% of them stop for three months to a year. Nicotine vaccines may become the latest option for helping the approximately 45 million US smokers quit.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the US and in Minnesota. (This year in the United States more than 170,000 people will be told that they have lung cancer, and 160,000 will die from it.) But smoking is also a risk factor for 30 other cancers, heart disease, and conditions ranging from colds and chronic bronchitis to stomach ulcers, emphysema, and blood circulation problems. And the Centers for Disease Control estimates that smoking causes more than $150 billion in health-related losses each year.
Quitting has immediate and long-term health benefits. Blood pressure, pulse rate, and body temperature return to normal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. Heart attack risk decreases after 24 hours and returns to almost the same rate as a nonsmoker after 2 years. And after 10 years, the lung cancer death rate for ex-smokers drops to almost the rate of non-smokers.