The 36th Great American Smokeout is here. It is the one day of the year where smokers are asked to stub out their cigarettes for 24 hours. Many smokers have used this day to start a new, smoke-free life. This is a great day for any tobacco user who wants to quit.
The idea grew out of an event held in Randolph, MA in 1971 when Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money spent on cigarettes to the local high school scholarship fund. In 1974, Minnesota spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day, and in 1976 the California division of the American Cancer Society succeeded in getting nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. The first national Great American Smokeout was held in 1977.
The Doctors’ Facebook followers were asked how they quit, and hundreds of former smokers responded with their advice:
Make lists. Write down your reasons for quitting and read it when the urge to smoke hits you. Write down things you enjoy doing that can replace cigarettes in the time slots when you smoked.
Find motivation in your family. Your family needs you and wants you in their lives. It takes a lot of willpower on your part, and your family can help provide the motivation you need. They can be your biggest cheerleaders. Celebrate your milestones together.
Get moving. Exercise can replace the habit of smoking and help you during those trigger times. You are becoming a healthier person and exercise will help.
Go cold turkey. Many former smokers didn’t want to start another habit that would be hard to break. Instead, they quit by chewing gum, or enjoying hard candies.
Keep your hands busy. Holding a cigarette has been part of your habit, so developing an activity that will keep your hands busy will help change the habit.
Know the urge will pass. One former smoker said she carried a card that said, “The urge for a cigarette will pass in 10 minutes whether you have one or not.”
Save money. Put the money aside that your would have spent on cigarettes and treat yourself to something as a reward for quitting. You will be surprised at the savings.
Join a support group. You are not the only one who wants to quit, and others who know what you are going through, can help you with your struggle. By joining a group, you are more likely to succeed in quitting. Several groups are listed below.
Stop and think. Many times smokers and tobacco users don’t think about what tobacco is doing to their body, they just do it. You don’t have to wait for a health scare to quit.
Shift your routine. Quitting tobacco will change your life, so you need to change your life to quit tobacco. You are breaking up with tobacco, so skip those activities in your life that will lead to smoking or tobacco use. Get rid of those things that made tobacco comfortable.
Consider it taking back control. Cigarettes are taking control of your life by calling to you. What are you missing out in life because your cigarettes or tobacco use came first?
Being a quitter is a good thing, especially when you are gaining a healthier life in return. The internet is a wonderful resource for finding quit resources. Below are just a few sites to get you started.
Quitnet.com – get support from others who are quitting and from ex-smokers
Becomeanex.org – free quit smoking program with apps for iPhone users
Smokefree.gov – provides live help through real-time text messaging with a National Cancer Institute smoking cessation counselor. Also provides phone numbers to talk to cessation counselors. Phone number for help within your state: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUITNOW) or my TTY: 1-800-332-8615.
ucanquit2.org – Quit Tobacco. Make Everyone Proud is a quit smoking resource and education site for members of the U.S. military and their families. Veterans can also use this site.
killthecan.org – a resource to quit dip, snuff & chewing tobacco. Provides forum for members to share their quit stories and help each other through the process.
tobaccofreeflorida.com – a site for Florida residents. Enroll online for counseling or talk to a counselor at 1-877-822-6669.
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