Most of what we do in life is easier said than done. Changing our habits is hard. Quitting smoking is so much easier said than done. We need the support of family, friends, and loved ones, to remain positive when faced with the challenge of quitting. Luckily, there are lots of free or affordable programs available. On April 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Grundy County Housing Authority there is a “5-day Break Free of Smoking” program. The cost is the same as one pack of cigarettes. Call Tonya Garner at 931-967-3826 to register or sign up on the Grundy County Health Council’s Facebook page.
This article is not a lecture. The fact is, according to the CDC, smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Because smoking doesn’t cause us to keel over on the spot, the health risks of our actions may not be seen until down the road when it’s too late. Quitting is well worth it. For every health risk caused by smoking, there is a benefit to quitting.
Smoking increases the risk of heart attack. Five smoke-free years can cut this risk of heart attack in half. Smoking also seriously increases the risk of cancer and diabetes, accelerates menopause and erectile dysfunction, dulls vision and memory, makes it more difficult to sleep, weakens bones, is bad for our stomach, and weakens our immune system making us more prone to get sick. Not to mention, if the average smoker quits, they can save up to $1,500 a year!
Smoking hurts you, and it undeniably hurts others as well. Pregnant women who smoke or spend time around smokers increase their risk of miscarriage or have a lower birth-weight baby, a leading cause of infant death. A smoke free environment helps keep our children healthier reducing respiratory and ear problems. By quitting, you’ll not only add to your wallet, but you will also add years to your and your loved ones’ lives. This gives us all the more reason to quit.
Finding the right reasons that motivate us to quit will be different for each person. One of the easiest ways to find what motivates you is to grab a pen and paper and jot down the pros and cons of quitting. Stash it wherever you usually keep your cigarettes as a helpful reminder whenever the urge to smoke hits.
Substitute the smoking habit with something healthier. Try something new. This includes eating sunflower seeds, drinking a cup of hot tea, listening to music, reading the news, taking 10 deep breaths to de-stress, walking, or making a phone call as long as this is not a trigger for you. Fill the time with something healthy and productive, and hold on to your reasons for quitting – this is essential.
Quitting starts with your commitment to improving your life. Admit that it’s going to be personally difficult. Then tell your family, friends, and coworkers you are quitting so they can help support you. Remove the cigarettes or tobacco products from your home, car, and work. Keep yourself busy and stay away from what tempts you (make a list of those things).
Finally, make use of a support program (TN Tobacco Quitline which is free at 1–800–784–8669). And if you slip up, it’s not the end of the world. Figure out the trigger and press on. Renew that commitment, keep your head up, and do it anyway. Start rebuilding a healthy future without cigarettes. After all, this is one time that it’s better done than just said.
Submitted by: Ben Almassi and Linnea Carver, students at University of the South