Are you a proud quitter? When it comes quitting smoking and tobacco use, you can brag all you want. The decision to stop using tobacco products is not only a smart personal choice, but it benefits everyone around you, too. The third Thursday of November (that’s Nov. 19 this year), is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Day — a perfect time to declare yourself smoke-free.
You already know that smoking is bad for your health. But Linda Morris, RRT, CTTS, tobacco treatment specialist at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, says that smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Morris lays out the startling facts:
- Smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.
- Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease (emphysema).
- Smoking is related to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and numerous cancers, including myeloid leukemia, bladder cancer, cancer of the cervix, throat cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, cancer of oral cavity, and stomach cancer.
- Smoking has adverse reproductive effects, and it can affect pregnancies that result in preterm delivery, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Smoking has adverse effects on diabetes.
When you consider that many of the conditions listed above are preventable, the decision to quit makes even more sense.
The process to quit smoking isn’t going to be easy, however. A 2013 Lung Association survey found that six out of 10 former smokers were not able to quit on their first try and required multiple attempts to quit smoking for good.
To further increase your success, Morris recommends following a plan, rather than suddenly quitting.
“Cold turkey usually does not prepare you for the possible pitfalls,” she says. “There is a greater possibility of relapse.”
Your plan should focus on the reasons you want to quit. Identify possible motivators, such as health factors and the people who care about you. Be sure to set a quit day, and work toward that goal one day, week or month at a time. And stay clear of triggers — the circumstances and situations that may cause you to light up a cigarette.
No matter where you are in the quitting process, you’ve already broken the biggest barrier. Deciding you want to live a healthier, smoke-free life is a huge milestone. Remember that every relapse is a learning experience, bringing you one step closer to quitting for the final time.
Need help sticking to a tobacco-less lifestyle? Call ProMedica Wellness at 855-251-8615 to learn more about community cessation programs.
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