According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people around the world. Here in the United States, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. It is well known that smoking causes many types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, as well as other health complications. However, even knowing these facts, many people are still caught in the addiction to these harmful products. Here in Allen County, according to the most recent health assessment (2014), 22% of adults currently smoke. Among our youth, the number of e-cigarette users continues to rise according to this same assessment.
Throughout January, we have been working through a series about the “New You”- How to Get There and Sustain It- and this week is no different as we tackle the addiction of tobacco that many face. The New Year is a perfect time to make changes and commit to bettering ourselves in many aspects. One area is tobacco. There is no lack of evidence around the dangers and health effects of using tobacco. However, there is also evidence of the reversal of these dangers over time after one quits tobacco.
This being said, what can you do to start your quit journey or help a friend start theirs? First, remember why you want to quit and what your motivation is for quitting. Next, set a quit date. The date may not be tomorrow, or the next day- but do not wait too long either. Set a time and a goal and stick with it. You should also make a list of triggers that make you want to smoke. This could be a certain smell, a certain activity or going to a certain location. Work to figure out a plan to avoid these triggers or replace them with something else. Talk to your doctor or research Nicotine Replacement Therapy, if you wish to use this to assist you in quitting. What works for your friend may not work for you, so choose something that makes sense to you. Finally, you need to find a support system that will encourage you and assist you in keeping your goals. Do not be shy about asking others to keep you accountable and telling others about your plans to quit tobacco.
Remember that your quit journey will likely not be easy. This is why making a plan and having support is essential to meeting your goals. Also, if you slip up along the way, do not be discouraged. Determine what went wrong, correct the issue and start the next day fresh again. Many times several attempts are needed to completely kick the habit. There are also some resources that you can turn to. The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is one such resource. By enrolling you can obtain a quit coach and materials in an online setting to assist in your desire to quit smoking. You can also talk to a coach over the phone during counseling sessions using the Quit Line. There are more resources available online through The American Cancer Society and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ask your physician about options available to you.
The time is now! Make 2017 the year that you kick the tobacco habit for good! Use the tips above to get started and check out the resources listed for even more information. It is a New Year and time for a new, healthier you- your body, family and friends will appreciate your effort and you, most of all, will benefit from a tobacco free you! For more information on Activate Allen County and resources available, call 419-221-5035.