From Our Team
Posted on January 4, 2016 by Jana Renner
Another year has come and gone, and it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Many of us will set a health goal for 2016. Some of us will vow to exercise more or eat less. If you smoke, you may set a goal to quit smoking. If so, congratulations! The decision to quit is a significant first step in improving your health.
Here are some facts that might help further motivate you to quit or assist a loved one in quitting. Quitting smoking may be the best way to significantly increase the life expectancy of smokers. In fact, smokers who quit by the age of 40 can increase their life expectancy by up to 10 years. If you are older than 40, quitting is still beneficial and can add up to 6 years to your life.
But, most of us already know that quitting was good for long-term health, so here are some short term health improvements. In less than three months after quitting, former smokers experience improved circulation and lung function, lower blood pressure, and easier breathing. In addition, stopping smoking benefits those around you. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems, especially in children and infants. Children who are around smokers are sick more often and experience more respiratory infections, ear infections, and severe asthma attacks than children that are not.
There are resources that are available 24/7 to help you on your journey to quit. While most people quit smoking on their own, these free resources can help make this quit attempt a success. You can:
- call the Quitline at 534-QUIT (7848) to receive help from a professional counselor and develop a personalized quit plan,
- visit www.yesquit.org to find quitting tips and online resources, chat with an Enrollment Specialist to help you stay motivated, and read success stories from former smokers, or
- visit ww.setyourdate.org to find quitting tips and testimonials from former smokers. You can even send in your picture and quit date to be posted on the web site.
Depending upon your medical insurance, some nicotine-replacement medications and cessation counseling services may be covered. Medicaid covers comprehensive tobacco cessation services for pregnant women and will cover nicotine-replacement medications.
Some recommended steps for any effort to quit smoking include:
- Think about why you want to quit,
- Set your date to quit,
- Stick to it, and
- Build a support system for your quit.
Speaking of support systems, if you are providing support for someone to quit, congratulations to you as well. The American Cancer Society provides some advice for friends and family such as not nagging or judging, spending time with the your loved one doing things to keep his/her mind off of smoking, and making your home a smoke free zone. Most importantly, celebrate milestones along the way. Every day without a cigarette is an achievement. For more information about helping a smoker quit, visit http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/helping-a-smoker-quit.
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