Friday, November 1, 2019

Gone are the days when glamorous celebrities, doctors and even Santa Claus advertised cigarettes, but people are still smoking.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that smoking causes one in every five U.S. deaths and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Even though smoking rates have decreased significantly over the years, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness.

Despite the evidence on the harmful impacts of smoking and tobacco use, about 20 percent of adults in Oklahoma smoked cigarettes in 2017 – a rate that has declined over the last decade but is still higher than the national average. The lung cancer incidence in Oklahoma is also higher than the national rate.

November 21 is the annual Great American Smokeout, which is a day when people across the country band together to stop smoking so they can live healthier lives and reduce their cancer risk.

Tips to Quit

Whether you are a smoker or you use smokeless tobacco, here are some tips for quitting for good.

  1. Create a plan. When creating your personalized quit plan, begin by choosing your quit date. Think about the reasons you want to quit to help motivate you, recognize your triggers and develop a way to battle your cravings. This may include using nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum, lozenges or prescription medications.

  2. Get support. Successfully quitting the use of nicotine products takes a village. Rely on your friends and family members for support. Also, don’t be afraid to call in the experts. Visit OKhelpline.com or call 800-784-8669 to speak with a professional quit coach through the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Smokefree.gov also offers a free smartphone app that can track your smoking patterns, mood, and your motivation and goals for quitting.

  3. Find ways to stay busy and get healthy. It’s important to find activities to distract yourself from cravings. Go for a walk or exercise, drink plenty of water, chew gum or eat hard candy, hang out with friends (nonsmokers), play a game on your phone to keep your hands busy, and take some time to relax and meditate. 

  4. Avoid triggers. It’s important to avoid the people, places and things that may make you want to smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Make sure to avoid spending time with smokers, throw away all smoking or tobacco-related supplies (cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, chewing tobacco and electronic vapor products), only go to places that are nonsmoking, change your routine and avoid caffeine so you don’t feel extra jittery.  

  5. Keep a positive attitude. Quitting is difficult. Focus on the small victories – making it one day, one week or one month without smoking or using smokeless tobacco. Make sure to celebrate your successes.

Although these are great tips to help you improve your overall health by ending the use of nicotine products, we know you and your family will still get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, Norman Regional has you covered. Learn more about Norman Regional Virtual Care or log on to visit with a provider 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $45 for each visit.