She walks in proudly carrying a very large cigarette prop and a box of unknown items. These aren’t just for show; she will use them to demonstrate what smoking is and what is actually in a cigarette. Kimetha Fulwood, health education supervisor for the Johnston County Health Department, gave our most recent Health Chat on Smoking Cessation.
This isn’t new to her. She teaches the 8-week smoking cessation class at the Health Department and has heard it all when it comes to smoking. But she can help.
- To Smoke- the act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.
- Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country.
- The tobacco picked in the field is not what goes into a cigarette. It goes through many different processes where chemicals and preservative s are added to it. Smoke contains 7,000 chemicals and of these, 70 are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals). These chemicals include benzene, formaldehyde, nicotine, cyanide, arsenic, ammonia, copper, acetone and lead…just to name a few.
- Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, and is a mina cause of lung cancer and COPD. It is also a cause of coronary heart disease, stroke and many other cancers and diseases.
- Tobacco use hurts your wallet. A person who buys a pack of cigarettes a day for $4.80 per pack will spend more than $1,752 every year on smoking. This can add up. After 10 years the total is up to $17,520! That’s the cost of a car or two.
At different times in her presentation, Kimetha asked three different people to tell their story about their smoking history and how they quit. Mike started smoking at age 15 and after 45 years of smoking decided it was time to quit. With the help of a smoking cessation class he was able to stop cold turkey. After a trip to the emergency room one night because she was unable to breathe, Vicky was forced to stop smoking when she was diagnosed with COPD and with 20% lung function, needs a double lung transplant. Don decided he would get help in the process of quitting and uses the nicotine patches from QuitLine. While he continues to struggle with this addiction, he says it has helped to have the support from the smoking cessation class.
Quitting smoking for good often requires multiple attempts. Using counseling or medication alone increases the success rate of quitting.
- There are seven medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to aid in quitting smoking. Nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges are available over the counter, and nicotine nasal spray and inhaler are currently available by prescription. Zyban and Chantix are non-nicotine pills.
- Individual, group and telephone counseling are effective. It is shown that in a group setting, a person is 75% more likely to quit.
- You will be able to tell a difference in your body and health within the first few weeks and months of not smoking. For example, after two weeks to three months your blood flows better, exercise becomes easier and your lungs work better. After one year your added risk of heart disease is much less and after five years your risk of stroke is now similar to those who have never smoked.
- The key to quitting is to break your habit. If you normally smoke in the mornings with a cup of coffee, switch that to tea or try brushing your teeth first thing before smoking. Make sure to switch the habit to something healthy such as veggies cut long ways to feel like a cigarette, chewing sugar-free gum, or having straws around to chew on.
- Get started by picking a quit date and stick to it. Stock up on healthy snacks, toss out your old packs and lighters and be sure to reward yourself for the small victories.
Are you ready to quit? Contact Kimetha Fulwood at 919-989-5200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for a full schedule of upcoming smoking cessation classes. You can also call 1-800-Quit-Now or visit QuitLineNC.com for free advice and help on quitting smoking.