Thursday was celebrated as the traditional date of the “Great American Smokeout.” Each year, this event is held to encourage people to start their journey toward a smoke-free life. Every year, thousands of people who smoke across the country take an important step in changing their life. This step leads to living a healthier life and reducing your risk of cancer and other diseases. Fortunately, you can make this decision any day of the year.
The American Cancer Society can help you access the resources and support you need to quit. More than 34 million people today still smoke cigarettes. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and illness in the world. About 1 in 5 people die every year from smoking and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
Some tips from the American Cancer Society to help you quit smoking include:
— If you plan on using medicines, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about which ones may be right for you. Some are started before you quit, and you might need to get a prescription ahead of time.
— Write down your reasons for wanting to quit. Keep the list with you to read when you need a reminder.
— Throw away all of your tobacco and smoking equipment: cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays. Toss out cigars, loose tobacco, pipes, and anything else that might tempt you.
— Think of all the things you usually do while you smoke. Then come up with other things you can do instead.
— Set a quit date and plan ahead to help deal with cravings. Tell your family, friends and co-workers about your plans to quit. Get their support.
— Get other things to put in your mouth when you crave a smoke, such as sugar-free gum or mints, carrot sticks, toothpicks or cinnamon sticks.
— Stay busy.
— Buddy up with a friend who also wants to quit smoking. Encourage each other. Support each other during stressful times when you want to smoke and feel like you might give in to your craving.
— Think ahead and avoid situations that trigger your urge to smoke.
As the holidays approach, think of your family, children and other loved ones who depend on you and want you to stay healthy. You can do it. Make the decision today to kick the habit!
Alyssa Edbauer is an intern at Eastern Niagara Hospital and a senior at Lockport Senior High School. Eastern Niagara Healthlines is a bi-weekly feature from the Eastern Niagara Health System’s Community Relations Department. Questions may be directed to 514-5505.