Since the late 1970s, the Great American Smokeout has taken place on the third Thursday in November. Over the years the event has grown, but the goal has remained the same: to challenge people to quit smoking, if only for one 24 hour period. If you decide to take the challenge, you will be in good company, as almost one-third of American smokers could be quitting for the day.
So what will happen when you give up smoking for one day? Your heart rate will drop back to normal levels as will your blood pressure. Your hands and feet will also warm up. After eight hours, the nicotine that is in your bloodstream has been cut in half, and the oxygen levels are back to normal. Within the first 24 hours, the carbon monoxide has been removed from your body, the mucus is clearing from your lungs and you can start to breathe easier. Your risk for a heart attack has also begun to drop. And this all happens within 24 hours. Imagine what will happen to your health in the following weeks and months if you quit tobacco for good!
As with everything that you want to succeed at, you have to have a plan. First, you need to make the decision to quit and prepare. You can call your state quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to learn more. Second, let your friends and family know about your decision. Your friends may also be taking the day off from tobacco and you can help each other with quitting. Third, get rid of the cigarettes, ashtrays, and other tobacco products even if it’s for one day so reminders are not in your face. Fourth, have mints, gum, water, fresh fruit and veggies available in case a craving hits.
Quitting is a big deal, even for one day, and smokers aren’t the only ones who may decide to quit tobacco. If this is your year to quit for good, try putting the money you would spend on tobacco away and at the end of the year reward yourself for a job well done. Not only will you have nice “quit fund”, but you will have better health and the start to more birthdays.