Join the Great American Smokeout
Approximately 64 million Americans–or 3 out of 10–still smoke cigarettes, in spite of widespread awareness that smoking causes a number of illnesses. Most smokers are addicted to cigarettes and find it very difficult to quit this unhealthy habit.
Although it is not easy to stop smoking, it is possible, and new products are helping to make it easier. With this in mind, the Health Alliance encourages you to make a commitment to quit smoking. The Great American Smokeout in November is an opportunity for smokers everywhere to end the addicting habit once and for all. The American Lung Association and the National Women’s Health Information Center offer these helpful tips:
- Enlist help! If you’ve found it impossible to keep your commitment in the past, you might be more successful with a smoking-cessation program provided by your doctor. The American Lung Association also offers an excellent self-help program called Freedom From Smoking, and a book called 7 Steps to a Smoke-Free Life. The National Cancer Institute also offers written materials.
- No two smokers are alike. You need to figure out why you smoke, and which people, places and things trigger your own personal urge to light up.
- Identify your personal obstacles to stopping smoking. Devise a plan to clear your life of these roadblocks.
- Think of substitutes for smoking–things you can do when the urge strikes, such as chew gum or take a walk.
- If nicotine withdrawal is a major problem, try nicotine “fading” to gradually reduce your cravings before quitting altogether, or nicotine replacement (the patch or gum) to help get you used to not smoking.
- If you have been unable to quit even with nicotine substitutes, a new pill called ZybanR may be right for you. This pill alters brain chemistry and requires a prescription. Ask your doctor for more information.
- Pick a day to quit. Quitting all at once is much more likely to be successful than cutting down gradually. Ask for support from friends and family, and throw away all your cigarettes.
- Once the “quit day” arrives, take it seriously.
- Develop a strategy for dealing with temptation.
- Treat “slip-ups” like an emergency, to keep lapses from becoming total relapses.
Don’t get discouraged if you temporarily go back to smoking. Just pick another quit date, get support from friends and family and try again.
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