Ready or not, the new year is rapidly approaching, and with the new year comes the time to set new health-related goals and resolutions. What will your health-related goals be for 2011?
We suggest that a worthy goal would be to live tobacco-free in 2011. Consider for a moment the reasons.
- Tobacco is the leading cause of death and disability in the world: The World Health Organization has identified tobacco as the single greatest cause of death and disability than any other single cause. In the United States alone, about 450,000 deaths per year are caused bytobacco-related diseases.
- Cigarette smoking is still a very common habit: Nearly one in five Americans smoke cigarettes cigarettes on a regular basis.
- Smoking is an expensive habit.
- Tobacco is among the most addicting habits known to man, a fact that tobacco companies understand and accentuate for their financial gain.
- While challenging for many people, it is possible to quit smoking. Now, more than ever before, there are effective methods to help someone stop smoking. It’s never too late to quit, nor is it ever too early to quit either!
If you, a family member, a friend, or a co-worker are a smoker, now is a perfect time to quit!
How does one quit smoking?
Step 1: Make the decision to quit. The desire to quit is the first and most important step in stopping smoking.
Step 2: Make a plan. Set a date to quit—your own personal “D Day” (discontinuation day). This should be a date in the near future, no longer than 3-4 weeks in the future, perhaps on important date, such as an anniversary or a holiday. As you work up to that date, identify and overcome any challenges to your desire to quit smoking. If you have friends who smoke, for example, take the time to tell them that you plan to quit and that you need their help to do so. It may surprise you, but your friends are most likely interested in quitting smoking also and may even join you on your
Step 3: Get some help. If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to quit smoking, seek out help from a trained medical professional. (See the resource link at the end of this article.) Ask for help from others around you, particularly those who have already quit smoking themselves. Your chances of quitting smoking improve as you have support around you to help.
Step 4: Do give up! Keep at your goal to quit smoking, even if you happen to slip up momentarily and smoke a cigarette. The grip is strong that comes from smoking and nicotine dependency, but with hard, consistent, and persistent work you can defeat your dependency on cigarettes and live tobacco free.
We invite you to make the decision now to take the steps necessary for you, your family, friends, and co-workers to live tobacco free in 2011. Your health and your wallet will benefit as a result!
For resources to help quit smoking, go to www.healthylivingrochester.org.
Look for our next article, coming soon, that will continue our discussion of the importance of living tobacco-free. Next time we will explore how we can overcome the ritual that for many people smoking has become.