There have been many changes over the years in regards to tobacco use — from the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants to the tobacco free campus campaigns throughout the U.S., including our very own SC4 campus. Some jobs, such as nursing, even require that a person gets screened for tobacco use before they are hired and if they test positive for tobacco then they will be denied the nursing position.
With all of these changes happening many people either want to or have to quit smoking. It can be a very tough challenge to accomplish but it is possible! There are many great resources and different strategies to help a person quit smoking. If you are looking to quit or have already made that decision, here are some tips from smokefree.gov to help you accomplish your goals!
1. Plan a quit date: write a quit date down and place it where you can see it or circle the date on the calendar. Make sure to plan it on a day where you are less likely to run into stressful situations or situations where you will be tempted to smoke.
2. Let the people close to you know you are quitting: it is very important to have support through this process. Letting them know what they can do to help will help you in your journey to quit smoking.
3. Get rid of any reminders: throw away anything that reminds you of smoking such as cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. Also, get rid of that smoky smell which can also be a trigger for smoking.
4. Why do you want to quit?: Having a reason to quit can help keep a person on track with the ultimate goal of living a tobacco free life. Making a list of reasons why you are quitting can serve as a helpful reminder, especially on those tough days.
5. Know what your triggers are: write down what your triggers are and then come up with ways to either avoid them or overcome the urge to smoke when you are around your triggers. More information about dealing with cravings can be found on www.smokefree.gov/cravings
6. Coping strategies: develop coping strategies that work for you. Some people may try medications such as a nicotine patch, gum or lozenge (though it is advised you speak with your healthcare provider before starting any medications). Counseling in person or over the phone is an option as well as hypnosis, acupuncture, and laser therapy according to www.smokfree.gov/explore-quit-methods.
7. Have a support system: there are many different options for support. One option is a text messaging service called Smokefree TXT. To sign up visit www.smokfree.gov/smokefreetxt. There is also something called Quitlines where you can talk to a counselor over the phone by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Other options would be quit smoking apps, family and friends or support groups.
8. Have a rewards system: give yourself a nice reward such as a movie night or going out to dinner when you have reached a milestone such as one day, one week or one month smoke free.
It is never too late to quit smoking. The benefits are seen after just 20 minutes when your heart rate and blood pressure decrease according to the American Cancer Society. They also state that within 2 weeks to three months the function of your lungs and your circulation improve, within 1 to 9 months you can see a decrease in coughing and shortness of breath, and after 5 years your risk of certain cancers and stroke decrease significantly. To see a list of more benefits of quitting visit www.cancer.org
The choice is yours! It is never too late to quit and there are many different ways to achieve your goal of a tobacco free life. To learn more about quitting visit the American Cancer Society, smokefree.gov, or the American Lung Associations websites, just to name a few! Good luck and best wishes on your journey.
By: Colleen Viger