Everyone loves a quitter

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If you’ve been thinking of quitting smoking or chewing tobacco, today’s the day, the start of the Great American Smokeout.
According to the American Cancer Society, quitting — even for one day — can reduce your risk of getting cancer.
The rewards of quitting will start quickly: whiter teeth, better breath and a better sense of smell. You’ll stop feeling winded from climbing stairs and discover just how good food really tastes.
Your circulation will improve in the first few weeks, and that annoying cough will go away.
In a year, your risk of heart disease will be half of what it is today. Fifteen years without smoking will reduce the risk to that of a nonsmoker.
In five years, your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus or bladder will also be half of what it is today.
People often say they have tried to quit, assuming the effort was a failure because they started smoking again. Each time you quit makes it more likely that you will, one day, quit for good.
To get through today, stay active, avoid people who are smoking and try changing the routines that involved smoking. If you always start your day with a cup of coffee and a cigarette, skip the coffee and try some juice.
Tobacco use remains the single-largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — nearly one in every five adults, according to ACS. As of 2010, there were also 13.2 million cigar smokers in the U.S., and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
Use these ideas from the ACS to help you stay committed to quitting:
• Avoid temptation: stay away from people and places that tempt you to smoke. Later on you’ll be able to handle these with more confidence.
• Change your habits: switch to juices or water instead of alcohol or coffee. Choose foods that don’t make you want to smoke. Take a different route to work. Take a brisk walk instead of a coffee break.
• Choose other things for your mouth: use substitutes you can put in your mouth such as sugarless gum or hard candy, raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, or sunflower seeds. Some people chew on a coffee stirrer or a straw.