Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer, as well as diabetes, heart failure, other forms of cancer and several other serious medical problems. For those who smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Unfortunately, quitting smoking can be a difficult process. Gaining support from family, friends, past smokers and/or actual support groups is the first step to successfully quitting the habit.
By letting friends and family know you are trying to quit, they can help to hold you accountable and help you stick to your goal.
Tobacco-proofing your home and life is also an important step to help you quit smoking. This could include getting rid of all lighters, ashtrays, or other smoking paraphernalia, and avoiding situations or scenarios in which you normally smoke. For instance, if you usually smoke during your break at work, change the time you normally take a break and take it in a different location. If you generally smoke after a meal, leave the table and keep yourself busy with something else, such as brushing your teeth or taking a walk. In stressful situations, chew gum or something else that can help satisfy that oral fixation. Increasing your activity level through exercise can also help you relieve stress in a healthier way.
Cone Health offers a program called QuitSmart to help you quit smoking permanently. The QuitSmart Program uses a “warm chicken” approach instead of encouraging people to quit “cold turkey”. Rather than quitting smoking all at once, the warm chicken approach slowly weans your body off of nicotine by switching to cigarette brands with less and less nicotine. Over the course of two weeks, you will gradually reduce the amount of nicotine to zero. The QuitSmart program takes about four weeks to complete, and you do not need to have already quit smoking before you attend. The success of this program is based on the support individuals find in each other. You are not alone in your efforts to quit smoking and others going through the same thing are there to help you, encourage you and keep you accountable.
The next QuitSmart series starts on January 3 at Cone Health’s Alamance Regional. To find out more and/or register, visit conehealth.com/classes or call (336)832-8000.
Rachel Marquez is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Cone Health’s Alamance Regional Hospital. She received a bachelor of science in biology in 2009 and a master’s in public health in 2012, both from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.