Why wait for New Year’s Eve to make a positive resolution? Today marks the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Great American Smokeout, an event which encourages smokers to use the date, November 15, to make a plan to quit. Americans have come a long way; as recently as 1965, more than 40% of adults smoked. While we’ve cut that rate in half, the ACS says that nearly 1 in every 5 American adults still smokes. And with all the damaging effects that smoking has on your body, and even on the people around you, isn’t smoking a habit you should give up?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more deaths are caused by tobacco use than by HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Not only does smoking cause lung cancer, but it puts you at a much greater risk for cardiovascular disease, lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis, and various other cancers, like kidney cancer, cervical cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Additionally, secondhand smoke can be very damaging for children and adults alike; it can cause ear infections, respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), heart disease, and lung cancer with even minimal exposure. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
There’s no better time than right now to make the choice for you and your loved ones. Need help quitting? It won’t be easy, so it’s important to have a good support system to keep you on the right track. You can find some resources to build your support system on the American Cancer Society website, or at Smokefree.gov.
If you’re ready to quit, here are the CDC’s tips for making the quitting process easier. After all, everyone loves a “quitter”!
- Don’t smoke any cigarettes. The best way to go about the quitting process is to go “cold turkey.” Every cigarette you smoke will damage your body more, so the best and healthiest way to quit is to stop smoking immediately. No more cigarettes; not today, not tomorrow, not ever again.
- Write down why you want to quit. You’ll be a healthier, happier person. You’ll save the money you’d otherwise be spending on tobacco. You’ll save your family from the damaging effects of secondhand smoke. You’ll smell better. You’ll be more productive without all those smoke breaks. The list goes on and on and on…
- Understand that quitting tobacco takes a true commitment. No one ever said it would be easy. Since nicotine is addictive, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. You might have cravings, anxiety, trouble sleeping, headaches, depression, or other unpleasant symptoms. You should utilize the resources available to you to make a plan for combating these stumbling blocks. There are tons of quit aids on the market; find the one that’s best for you, and be prepared to use it.
- Get help. You don’t have to go it alone. Check out the CDC’s list of resources for even more websites to get you the help you need.
- Know that quitting is possible. More than half of all adult smokers have quit. If they can do it, you can too! We’re all rootin’ for ya! Stay positive and optimistic; everything will work out in the end.
Quitting can be done if you’re committed enough. The Great American Smokeout is the perfect opportunity to free yourself from the bad effects of tobacco use. Have you ever quit smoking? Share your success story so we can inspire other Zing readers to get the help they need!