Dwight Clark Invites you to the Great American Smokeout

 

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and a perfect time to quit smoking.  This November, Dwight Clark invites you to participate in the Great American Smokeout and quit smoking for good.

What is the Great American Smokeout?

The Great American Smokeout is a nation wide event sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  It has been going on for the last 37 years, on the third Thursday of November, and the goal of the event is to use the date to stop smoking.

Why is it so hard to quit smoking?

Because nicotine is a drug every bit as addictive as heroin or cocaine.  That means that a smoker is physically and emotionally dependent on nicotine, and when a smoker tries to quit, he or she experiences unpleasant physical and mental withdrawals.

It is also worth noting that inhaling nicotine via smoking is absorbed through the bloodstream and reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously.  This makes smoking nicotine a very powerful drug.

 

What are common withdrawal symptoms?

Dizziness, depression, anxiety, frustration, irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches, weight gain, constipation, among many others.

I know WHY to quit smoking, tell me HOW?

What is hard is to decide to quit.  This is true of many things that require you to break habits, and it is especially true for things that require you to break physical habits, because your body will scream “NO” and your mind must scream back “YES”.  That is the decision to quit, to accept whatever hardship it will bring and demand your body not to give in.

If you are having a hard time deciding to quit, you might not really KNOW the why, it might be some distant statistic that did not feel relevant to your life.  So in coming to the decision to quit, spend some time reading information on the ill effects of smoking, talking to doctors that specialize in lung disease, think about how your smoking affects not only your health, but the health of those close to you, and think about how you have rationalized your smoking to this point.  Come to terms with the fact that smoking is a bad habit that harms you and there is no justification for continuing to smoke.

Reaffirm your decision regularly and often, it helps make it a reality.  Notes on the mirror reminding yourself that you do not smoke, reminders on your phone, desk, refrigerator, any visual that will help you remind yourself of your decision.  And, talk about it.  People often “do not want to talk” about such an important decision, because they are afraid that if they fail to quit, it will be very embarrassing to admit.  But, not talking about it keeps it in the closet, right next to your cigarettes.  So talk about it, and give everyone in your life the chance to remind you that they support you and are cheering on your decision.

After I decide and commit, then what?

Change your habits as much as possible:  shop at a different grocery store, take a new route to work, exercise, try new restaurants, try new foods, avoid situations where people are smoking, drink lots of water, tea and juices, keep your hands occupied: click pens, squeeze toys, even wear gloves, keep your mouth occupied:  gum, mints, cinnamon sticks.  Consult your doctor about nicotine replacement therapies and other medications.  There is individual medical insurance coverage for help quitting smoking, get a quote and learn more.

What about nicotine replacement therapies and medications, do they work?

There are five types of nicotine replacement therapies that are FDA approved:  patch, gum, nasal spray, inhalers, and lozenges.  Nasal spray and inhalers must be purchased with a doctor’s prescription, the others can be purchased over the counter.  The idea behind all of the types of nicotine replacement therapies is a measured dose of nicotine to help wean off the drug a little at a time.  Use of these therapies is meant to be temporary, and each has a different side effect .

There are also medications to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, and they are only available with a prescription.  Health Savings Accounts can help pay for costs of these prescriptions.

What are the statistics of quitting success rates?

 Generally, statistics of quitting for good are much higher when done in conjunction with nicotine replacement or medications, particularly under doctor’s prescription.  But, it is important to note that only one statistic matters to you: yours.  What works for someone else might not work for you, and it might take you SEVERAL different attempts to find something that works in the long term.

And, do not get discouraged!  It might take you a while to fully kick the habit, but you will.  Does an athlete master his sport all at once?  You are in a marathon, not a sprint, keep going, keep your decision, and it will happen.

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