With the Great American Smokeout coming up November 19, people are asking themselves if this is the year they will quit smoking. While it's not easy to stop the tobacco habit, today there are plenty of resources to help you.
"Quit-smoking apps keep you motivated," said Mark Potuck, Goshen Health Tobacco Treatment Specialist. "They are today's version of an in-person support group." Potuck runs Goshen Health’s support group Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. and meets with patients identified as tobacco users when they are admitted to the hospital.
An app can give you the boost you need to resist an urge to smoke. It can show you how much money you save when you no longer buy cigarettes. Or count the days of life you regain by not smoking.
Support makes a big difference for people who want to beat the tobacco habit, according to Potuck. Groups, like the Goshen Health Beat Tobacco program, help you understand you're not alone and what to expect as you face urges, deal with stress and change habits.
Apps give you real-time access to support networks at any time and from anywhere. Instant support can make a big difference, particularly during stressful times, Potuck said. Worries over a job loss or social isolation may cause former smokers to pick up the habit again. Or smokers may increase their daily habit, instead of cut back, as a way to deal with challenges.
A two-pack-a-day smoker tried for three years to quit after two health scares and two stents in the arteries to his heart. When he started working nights and could not attend Goshen Health’s support group, he found success with the QuitTracker app.
"He was like a little kid whenever I saw him," Potuck said. "He would show me on his phone how much money he had saved and how many days he added to his life."
A young couple in the birthing center at Goshen Hospital quit smoking together after talking with Potuck. They were eager to learn about online resources that could give them the support they needed, despite their hectic schedules.
“Younger people who quit are likely to avoid the serious health issues that often occur down the road,” said Potuck. " Even if you don't quit right away, never quit trying to quit."
Start your lung health journey today
Smokers are at greater risk for infection, including the coronavirus. If you test positive for COVID-19, you also may develop more severe symptoms, since the virus targets the lungs.
Approximately 36.5 million American adults smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.
The American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout. Check out their website for helpful information at
https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html. Other sites offering encouragement and resources are the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control, American Lung Association and Smokefree.gov.