Help, options available for challenges of smoking cessation

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

BethAnn Cameron
U.S. Army Public Health Command

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — While this year’s Great American Smokeout, Nov. 16, has passed, anytime is the right time to make a plan to stop smoking.

A plan to quit smoking is an important step towards leading a healthier life.

Risk of a heart attack decreases 24 hours after stopping smoking and, after one year of being tobacco-free, the risk for heart disease is one-half that of smokers.

Soldiers who quit tobacco enhance their performance during a mission with increased night vision and mental sharpness; reduce their risk of heat and cold injuries; and improve wound healing.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, know what you’re up against, what your options are and where to go for help.

Challenges

Cigarettes and tobacco such as dip or chew contain an addictive drug called nicotine. You are addicted to nicotine if you are tense, fidgety, crabby, have poor concentration and get headaches if you haven’t smoked in a few hours.

Nicotine cravings and urges to use tobacco can be triggered by a situation, event or behavior such as drinking coffee, talking on the phone or eating a big meal that sets off the urge to smoke or dip.

Options

Make a plan and get ready to quit. Preparation for change is the key to success. Get rid of all tobacco, ashtrays, lighters and matches in your house or car. Place “stop signs” as reminders in your home, car or other areas that trigger your desire to smoke.

Decide on one of the quit methods below:

•Cold turkey – quit at once.

•Tapering – gradually cut back on the amount smoked.

•Postponing – put off smoking until later each day.

•Medication – Talk with your health care provider about getting medication to help with quitting.

Keep in mind that medication cannot take away the triggers that are related to smoking.

Tips

•Avoid situations where people smoke, if possible.

•Alter or change the situation.

•Look for alternatives or substitutes for smoking such as chewing sugar-free gum, playing with a pen or rubber band, or picturing something pleasant in your mind.

Use the 4D’s:

•Delay. Wait 15 minutes.

•Deep breaths. Deep breathing relieves stress.

•Drink water.

•Do something else. Take a walk. Go for a run.

Where to go for help

For more information on tobacco cessation, visit:
• Quit Tobacco. Make Everyone Proud: www.ucanquit2.org.
• American Lung Association: www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking/workplace-wellness.
• American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/index.
• Become an EX, Online Tobacco Cessation Program: www.becomeanex.org.
• Comprehensive guides and tools: https://tobaccofreelife.org/.

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Category: Community, Health

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