March 31, 2022
Let’s face it, the time to kick butts is now. Take Down Tobacco National Day of Action is coming up on April 1, so we’ve provided some information on smoking that could save your life or the life of a loved one. As part of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, teachers, kids, youth leaders and health advocates celebrate this day by promoting anti-smoking campaigns through community events. We recognize this day in order to call attention to the problems that arise with tobacco use.
Smoking damages almost every organ in your body, causing heart issues, cancer, eye disease, arthritis, stroke, lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Additionally, smoking can affect fertility, dental health, immune functions and bone health. Nearly one in five deaths in the United States are due to smoking and on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Because the health consequences of smoking affect far more than just your lungs or heart, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Not to mention that smoking cigarettes wreaks havoc on your external health and physical appearance, causing premature aging, wrinkles and sagging skin.
It’s hard to know where to even start when you decide to quit smoking, but fortunately, there are tons of resources out there! Here are some tips to get you started:
- From the get-go, commit to a quitting plan.
- Remove all smoking-related paraphernalia.
- Opt-out of social settings that are centered around smoking and instead seek smoking-free social activities with nonsmokers.
- Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms.
- You might consider medication options, such as a prescription or nicotine replacement therapy to help control symptoms. Consult with your primary care physician about this.
- Manage cravings with gum, mints or hard candies.
- When quitting seems impossible, talk to a close friend or family member.
If you do reach a point where quitting does not seem feasible, you have options. Consider seeking a counselor to guide you through the process, call the quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, sign up for free encouragement texting programs, download an app or visit the CDC website for more tips.
The benefits of quitting smoking are numerous. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, reproductive complications and premature death. Additionally, you will likely notice your overall health and quality of life improve. It’s also important to realize the money you will save by quitting smoking! Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on smoking and related diseases in the United States each year while the average smoker spends over $2,000 a year on cigarettes.
Quitting smoking is not an overnight process, but it is a long journey that will have its ups and downs, so we encourage you to celebrate your victories and milestones! When you begin the quitting process, write down five reasons why you chose to quit and when certain days are especially hard, remind yourself of these reasons. This will help you stay motivated and remember the reason you quit in the first place! Quitting is no small feat, but it is possible one step at a time! Your future self will thank you.