It’s time for the Great American Smokeout!
The American Cancer Society designates the third Thursday of November each year as a target date for smokers to:
- make a plan to quit, or
- plan in advance and quit smoking that day.
Will this be your year?
Here are some facts and strategies that could help you kick the habit for good!
Fact #1: Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have support, such as:
- Telephone hotlines
- Smoking cessation group meetings
- Online support groups
- Nicotine patches, gum or other replacement products
- Prescription medicine to lessen cravings
- Encouragement and support from friends and family members
Using two or more of these support systems to help you quit smoking works better than using any one of them alone. If you need to, use as many as 3 or 4 of the methods listed above!
Fact #2: Nicotine, a drug found naturally in tobacco, is what makes it so hard to quit smoking. It’s as addictive as heroin or cocaine, so you become not only emotionally addicted to smoking but physically dependent on the nicotine. That’s what causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Cut yourself some slack—it’s hard! Just remember that both the physical and mental dependence must be addressed for the quitting process to work.
Fact #3:There’s no one right way to quit. So what can you do? You have to find what will work for you, but four key factors should lead you to success:
- Making the decision to quit
- Picking a Quit Day and making a plan
- Dealing with withdrawal
- Staying tobacco-free
Fact #4: Most smokers prefer to quit cold turkey — they smoke until their Quit Day and then stop completely, all at once. Some may smoke fewer cigarettes for 1 or 2 weeks before their Quit Day. Some cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked each day, to slowly reduce the amount of nicotine in the body. The important thing is to make a plan and stick with it.
Strategy for Success #1
When you’re in the throes of quitting, take care of yourself.
- Keep active — try walking, exercising or other activities.
- Drink lots of fluids — especially water.
- Use your nicotine replacements if that’s part of your plan.
- Avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.
- Avoid people who are smoking.
- Have safe substitutes you can put in your mouth, like gum, hard candy—even a coffee stirrer or a straw.
- Breathe deeply: When you were smoking, you breathed deeply as you inhaled the smoke. Be sure to keep up this habit, but with fresh, clean air.
Strategy for Success #2
Decide now on your own plan! Successful quitting means planning and commitment—and getting support from your doctor, your family and friends, and fellow smokers who are also trying to quit. And if you ever have any questions, call the team at Horizon Health Services. We’re happy to support you in your quest for a healthier life.