As summer winds down, September brings us back from trips, back to our routines, and back to our schedules. It may be a time to check in with your healthcare provider for checkups and screenings–and it may be a time to get serious about quitting smoking.

Each year in September, we recognize both heart and lung health with World Lung Day and World Heart Day. Tobacco use greatly impacts both of these essential organs, and quitting smoking, vaping and using tobacco products is a way to ensure a better quality of life for many summers and Septembers to come.

World Lung Day

September 25th was marked World Lung Day to unite in promoting lung health globally. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, with many of them being toxic and at least 69 known to cause cancer. When you inhale, cigarette smoke or vape aerosol, the chemicals you take in quickly hit delicate lung tissue. The chemicals can then be transferred directly to your bloodstream and carried to the rest of your body. Smoking is the cause of about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and about 80 percent of deaths caused by COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Living with lung damage can also severely limit your mobility and quality of life.

While the long-term impacts of e-cigarettes on lung health is still being studied, these products are not harmless. They have been found to cause lung inflammation and scarring, acute lung injury, and asthma and COPD. E-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.

World Heart Day

World Heart Day is recognized on September 29th to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD) which include heart disease and stroke. Tobacco is a major risk factor for developing CVD–one of the leading causes of death in the United States. When you use tobacco products, the cells that line blood vessels become swollen and inflamed leading to many cardiovascular conditions. This risk increases with more tobacco use, but even smaller amounts can cause damage over time. Nonsmokers can also be at risk of CVD is they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

The best way to care for your lung and heart health this September is to quit using tobacco products. The sooner you quit, the sooner your organs can begin to heal. To get started, make your quit plan today: Visit Start My Quit or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.