Smoking Cessation- Education & Resources
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year smoking causes about 480,000 deaths in the US alone, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Smoking also causes many diseases that can steal your quality of life long before death.
How does smoking affect your health?
Health concerns usually top the list of reasons people give for quitting because smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and some of these harmful effects are immediate.
Cancer: everyone knows that smoking can eventually lead to lung cancer, but it can also lead to many other cancers as well; Mouth, nose, sinus, lip, larynx, throat, esophagus, bladder, liver, kidney, cervix, colon, ovary, pancreas, stomach, rectum, and myeloid leukemia can all be caused by smoking.
Lung Disease: Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases make it difficult to breath, cause chronic disability and illness and get worse over time. Long term smokers have the highest risks of developing sever COPD.
Heart attack, strokes, and blood vessel diseases: Smokers are twice as likely to die from heart attacks as non-smokers. Smoking also affects the walls of blood vessel that carry blood to the brain (carotid arteries) and your legs and arms (peripheral vascular disease). Weakened vessels can lead to stroke or sudden death.
Blindness and other problems: smoking increases the risk of becoming blind with age. It promotes cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye. It also causes premature wrinkling of the skin, bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and yellowing of the teeth and fingernails.
Special risk to women and babies: A woman who smokes increases her risk of a tubal pregnancy which can’t be saved and is threating to her life. Miscarriage and low birth weight are also increased due to smoking. Babies can also be affected by a mother’s smoking in that they may have learning and physical problems.
Non-Health related reasons to quit: To name a few, cost associated with smoking, social acceptance, health of others around you, and setting an example for children.
Five-Step Process to Help You Quit with Success
Congratulations on the decision to quit. Your first day without cigarettes can be difficult, but having a plan will make it easier! Don’t rely on willpower alone to keep you smoke free. Prepare so that you can feel confident in your ability to stay smoke-free today.
Step 1: Get Ready!
Three million people in the US quit smoking every year. You can be one of them! Just decide you want to QUIT smoking more than you want to keep smoking. You CAN do it! Once you have chosen a date, mark your calendar, announce to family, friends and co-workers. Also, don’t forget to make a plan. Change your environment by getting rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work. Don’t let people smoke in your home or car. Review your past attempts to quit and think about what worked and what did not. Once you quit, don’t smoke – NOT EVEN A PUFF!
Step 2: Get Support!
Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. You can get support in many ways; tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are going to quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out where you can see them. Talk to your health care provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, or smoking cessation coach or counselor). Get individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling doubles your chances of success. The more help you have, the better your chances are of quitting. Free programs are available at local hospitals and health centers. Call your local health department for information about programs in your area.
Step 3: Learn new skills and behaviors
Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a walk, or get busy with a task. When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place. Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise, or read a book. Plan something enjoyable to do every day. Drink a lot of water and other fluids.
Step 4: Get medication and use it correctly
Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved medications to help you quit smoking. Ask your health care provider for advice and if medication is right for you to help you to quit smoking. Nearly everyone who is trying to quit can benefit from using a medication. However, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, younger than 18 years of age, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.
Step 5: Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations
Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Don’t be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. The following are some difficult situations you may encounter:
Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
Other smokers: Being around smoking can make you want to smoke.
Weight gain: Many smokers will gain some weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don’t let weight gain distract you from your main goal—quitting smoking. Some quit-smoking medications may help delay weight gain.
Bad mood or depression: There are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking. Some smoking cessation medications also lessen depression.
If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your doctor or other health care provider.
Local Smoking Cessation Classes
If you are interested in kicking this habit, please attend the Freedom from Smoking Cessation classes. Sponsored by the American Lung Association, these classes are offered at the Johnston County Health Department. For more information on dates and times please call Kimetha Fulwood at 919-989-5200 or click here.
Where to get help and support when trying to quit:
There are many resources available to you during your journey to becoming smoke free. We have listed a few helpful resources for you here but you can also check online to find others in your area.
Telephone Service is available 24/7 toll-free at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
(also in Spanish)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Office on Smoking and Health
Free quit support line: 1-800-784-8669
Nicotine Anonymous (NicA)
National Cancer Institute
(also in Spanish)
American Heart Association
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
American Lung Association
American Cancer Society