Published: 01/09/2012

I have a patient who has, so far, beaten his need to continue smoking after many years. Smoking is a very difficult habit to change. Smoking has not only a physical reaction, but also a mental or emotional reaction. I’d like to share a couple of the revelations that my patient shared with our staff.

First, he said that he had no idea how much he could not “smell.” He has heard people talk about how it smells after a rain, but really had no idea what they meant by that. He now knows what they are referring to. He then went on to tell us that he can now tell the difference between different kinds of cheese! Being from Wisconsin, we can appreciate his newly awakened taste buds.

In an article from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health, entitled “Harms of Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting,” it lists some of the immediate benefits of smoking cessation, including lower blood pressure and heart rate, improved circulation, and improved sense of smell and taste. The latter two aren’t talked about as much as cancer or coronary artery disease, but for some those may be more tangible.

Think about the next time it rains in the middle of summer. Think about the next time you eat a piece of 20-year-aged sharp cheddar cheese. Smoking cessation will improve your life from day one. Decide to do it, ask for help if you need it, and enjoy all that life offers—one whiff and one cheese curd at a time.

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