Is it Time to Quit Smoking? Let WMHS Help You Kick the Habit
Did you know that any level of exposure to secondhand smoke has its risk? Even brief exposure can be harmful to health. The American Cancer Society warns that people who don't smoke but inhale secondhand smoke are exposed to the same harmful chemicals as smokers.
If you are part of the 26 percent of the adults in Allegany County who smoke, you may want to stop smoking to protect your loved ones.
Smokers can and do quit smoking. Often it requires repeated interventions, but effective treatments and helpful resources exist. Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.
If you or someone you love wants to quit, the following resources are available:
WMHS Community Health & Wellness 240-964-8418 or 8420
Allegany County Health Department 301-759-5050
Garrett County Health Department 301-895-3111 or 301-334-7730
Mineral County Health Department 304-788-1321
Maryland Tobacco Quitline 1-800-Quit-Now
1. Call any of the resources above for free support and to set up your quit plan.
2. Talk with your doctor about medicines to help you quit.
3. Circle a quit date on your calendar. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. For example, your reasons to quit might be to save money and to make your family proud. Keep the list with you to remind yourself why quitting is worth it.
4. Make small changes, like:
-Throw away ashtrays in your home, car, and office so you aren’t tempted to smoke.
-Make your home and car smoke-free.
-If you have friends who smoke, ask them not to smoke around you.
Quitting may be hard, so prepare yourself.
Remember, the urge to smoke will come and go. Here are some ways to manage cravings:
• Do something else with your hands, like washing them, taking a shower, or washing the dishes. Try doing crossword or Sudoku puzzles.
• Have healthy snacks ready, like carrots, nuts, apples, or sugar-free gum.
• Distract yourself with a new activity.
• Take several deep breaths to help you relax.
Break the connection between eating and smoking.
Many people like to smoke when they finish a meal. Here are some ways to break the habit:
• Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating.
• Brush your teeth and think about the fresh, clean feeling in your mouth.
• Try going for a walk after meals.
Some people worry about gaining weight when they quit smoking. The average weight gain is small – less than 6 to 8 pounds. Some people may gain more, but many people don’t gain any weight when they quit.
Deal with stress.
Manage stress by creating peaceful times in your daily schedule. Try new relaxation methods like deep breathing or lighting candles.
Stick with it.
When you stop smoking, you may feel irritable, anxious and hungry.
You may even have trouble sleeping. Don’t give up! It takes time to overcome addiction.
Learn from the past.
Some people try to quit more than once before they succeed. Most smoking relapses (when people start smoking again) happen within the first 3 months. If you’ve tried to quit before, think about what worked for you and what didn’t.
Drinking alcohol, depression, and being around other smokers can make it harder to quit. If you are finding it hard to stay quit, talk with your doctor about what medicines might help you.
For more information, call WMHS Community Health & Wellness at 240-964-8424.