Smokers are encouraged to give their habit for at least one day.
Today (Thurs, Nov. 15th) is the annual "Great American Smoke Out," which is a day where smokers are encouraged to give up their habit, at least for one day. "Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US. Yet, about 43.8-million Americans still smoke cigarettes," says Todd Crum with the Frederick County Health Department. "According to our 2010 data, approximately 19,000 adults in Frederick County currently smoke cigarettes."
The "Great American Smoke Out" is in its 37th year, and is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Frederick County Smoke-Free Maryland Coalition, and the Frederick County Health Department.
Crum says quitting smoking can improve your health. "Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking. And quitting smoking lowers the risk of certain cancers, including lung cancer, heart attack, stroke and other chronic lung disease," he says.
If you smoke and you want to quit, Crum says you need to put on your calendar the day you plan to quit, and tell your family and friends about your decision. Set up a support system with all those individuals in your life, so they can encourage you to stop smoking and not start again. Most importantly, he says, get rid of all ashtrays and cigarettes from your home, car and other locations. In addition, stock up on substitutes for cigarettes, such as sugarless gum, hard candy, coffee stirs, straws and toothpicks. And if you're offered a cigarette, say "No thank you, I don't smoke."
Crum acknowledges what some ex-smokers have said that quitting smoking is difficult. "However, we are surprised when you do hear from those who have quit that it wasn't quite as difficult as they feared," he says.
And, Crum continues, any smoker who has tried to quit and failed should hot give up. "They may found through cessation programs and through the use of nicotine replacement therapies, including the patch and gum, that this can be done successfully," he says. "Even though it's still difficult, they can be successful in their quit attempt."
The Health Department recommends that smokers think about past attempts, and figure out what worked and what didn't work.