Medi-Cal members who smoke have a great new reason to quit! A $20 gift card is not available for calling he California Smokers Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS and developing a ‘quit smoking’ plan. Smoking is contributed to heart disease, lung disease, cancer and death. The California Smokers Helpline is a FREE telephone-based counseling service. 1-800-NO-BUTTS is operated by the University of California, San Diego. Participants must be a current Medi-Cal member, have a beneficiary Identification Card number ask for the $20 gift card and complete the first counseling session. There are also medications available for those who are addicted and need assistance getting trough the withdrawal symptoms.

A timeline of health benefits

20 Minutes After You Quit
The effects of quitting start to set in immediately. Less than 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate will already start to drop back towards normal levels.

2 Hours After You Quit
After two hours without a cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure will have decreased to near healthy levels. Your peripheral circulation may also improve. You may also begin to feel nicotine withdrawals.

12 Hours After You Quit
In just 12 hours after quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide in your body decreases to normal levels, and your blood oxygen levels increase to normal.

24 Hours After You Quit
The heart attack rate for smokers is 70% higher than for non-smokers. But, believe or not, just one full day after quitting smoking, your risk for heart attack will already have begun to drop.

48 Hours After You Quit
At this point all nicotine will have left your body. Your sense of taste and smell will return to a normal level.

2 to 3 Weeks After You Quit
You’ll finally be able to exercise and perform physical activities without feeling winded and sick. This is also the point in which most people stop feel withdrawal symptoms.

1 to 9 Months After You Quit
Starting about a month after you quit, your lungs begin to regenerate. Inside them, the cilia –the tiny hair-like organelles that push mucus out –will start to repair themselves and function properly again.

1 Year After You Quit
The one year mark is a big one. After a year without smoking, your risk for heart disease is lowered by 50% compared to when you were still smoking.

5 Years After You Quit
5 to 15 years of being smoke-free, your risk of having a stroke is the same as someone who doesn’t smoke.

10 Years After You Quit
It’ll take 10 years, but if you quit, eventually your risk of dying from lung cancer will drop to half that of a smoker’s. Ten years after quitting, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas also decreases.

Long Term Benefits
The long-term benefits of quitting smoking are fantastic. According to the American Heart Association, non-smokers, on average, live 14 years longer than smokers.

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