The start of the new year is a great time to try to quit smoking. Even if you’ve tried before, this time could be the right time for you to succeed.
Why is giving up tobacco so important?
- Quitting smoking is the single most critical step you can take to improve the length and quality of your life.
- When you quit smoking, you also improve the lives of your friends, family and even your pets — anyone who may have been inhaling your secondhand smoke. Children who live with smokers tend to contract more chest colds and ear infections, and babies born to moms who smoke are at greater risk of being born prematurely, being born at a low birth weight and dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Cigarettes are expensive. Smoking a pack a day can cost almost $2,000 a year.
The physical benefits start early and accumulate over time
You may think you’ve been smoking so long that it’s too late to quit. But once you do quit, the physical health benefits quickly become apparent.
- 20 minutes after you quit, your heart rate drops to a healthy level.
- 12 hours after you quit, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to a healthy level.
- One year after you quit, your increased risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
- 10 years after you quit, your risk of dying from lung cancer and your risk of getting bladder cancer are cut in half. Your risk of getting cervical, laryngeal, kidney or pancreatic cancer also decreases.
You can get help
Everyone who quits seems to find their own way. Some people quit cold turkey and don’t tell anyone until they have a few days of success behind them. Others reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke before stopping altogether. Whatever plan works best for you, just remember that you don’t have to go it alone.
Choose your strategy
Before quitting, talk to your primary care provider about what resources are available to help you quit. Your options include:
Your doctor can also issue you a referral for a one-on-one session with a certified tobacco treatment specialist (CTTS) at Goshen Health. Most insurance providers (public and private) will cover the cost of these sessions.
No matter which approach you take, make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to keep up your motivation and what you’re going to do when you have a craving to smoke.
Stay at it
Expect a few tough days along the way. The first few days are often the hardest. You may feel touchy, depressed, slow and tired. The good news is that every time you choose not to smoke when a craving strikes, the more you increase your chances of quitting for good. Surround yourself with non-smokers, and reward yourself when you hit milestones.
Join a support group
Goshen Health offers a free Beat Tobacco Class and Support Group on Tuesday nights, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center, meeting in the Wellness Classroom, 2nd Floor, 1855 S. Main Street, Suite B, Goshen, IN. There you’ll hear stories of encouragement, struggle and triumph. Dozens of residents throughout Elkhart County credit this support group with giving them the help they needed to stop smoking. To find out more, call (574) 364-3759.