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The Mountaineer Online

Great American Smokeout offers chance to quit tobacco for one day

Kathy Hanchek

Army Public Health Nursing

How many times have you thought “One day I’ll quit smoking”? You know deep down inside all of the reasons you should quit. Quit for your family and friends, quit for your health and your children, and quit for your budget. It is time to turn that “one day” into today! Join the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21, and make it the day that you do not use tobacco.
Using tobacco is harmful not only to your health but also to the health of those who are exposed to your secondhand smoke. Some tobacco users believe that they will not suffer from the long-term health effects of tobacco use. Other tobacco users do not recognize the dangers of exposing others to their tobacco habit.
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking and/or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 8.6 million adults live with serious chronic illnesses caused by tobacco use, to include cancer, stroke, heart disease and lung disease.
Despite the proven health risks associated with smoking and tobacco use, approximately 46.6 million adults in the United States continue to smoke cigarettes.
In 2010, 68.8 percent of adult smokers wanted to stop smoking and 52.4 percent made an attempt to quit in the past year, based on data analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the National Health Interview Survey. Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have a means of support, such as education, counseling, medication and/or encouragement from friends and family.
Quitting isn’t easy, but millions have been successful. Being prepared for Great American Smokeout will help you turn “One day I’ll quit smoking” into that one day.
Here are some tips to help you prepare to quit for just one day. 
Prepare yourself mentally:
Think about the positive aspects of quitting, such as improved health for yourself and your family, living a longer life that you control (versus the control of an addiction), and more money in your wallet. Maintaining a positive attitude that you can quit for life is the key to success. Quitting is difficult, but not impossible. Join the millions who have quit!
Set a target date for quitting:
The Great American Smokeout is a great day to quit. To begin your journey to health, mark Nov. 21 on your calendar as your quit date.
Involve someone else:
Ask a friend, family member or co-worker to participate in the Great American Smokeout by being your support person. Even better, ask a friend or spouse to quit with you. Consider attending a tobacco cessation class in which you will learn new behavior modification skills that will help you to be successful.
Know what to expect:
Prepare yourself for tobacco cravings and have a plan in place to handle them. Stock up on low-calorie substitutes for tobacco, such as hard candy, gum or mints. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water or low-calorie beverages when you have the urge to use tobacco. Physical cravings resolve within three to five minutes, so make a plan for short distractions, such as physical activity or small projects.
Recognize and try to avoid tempting situations:
 Think about those times during the day that you use tobacco. Is it while you are driving, taking a break at work, after PT in the morning, after meals, while drinking coffee, when you are bored, or when you are stressed? Try to avoid those high-risk situations for the first couple of weeks while you are quitting tobacco. It is best to replace your old habits with new and healthy habits, such as brushing your teeth after a meal, taking a few deep breaths when feeling stressed, or going for a short walk instead of heading to the “smoke shack” or place where you most typically use tobacco.
Use the Five Ds in fighting a craving:
*Deep breathing to feel relaxed and in control.
*Drink water or low- calorie beverages.
*Do something else to keep busy. Take a walk. Listen to music.
*Discuss your urge with a friend, co-worker or family member.
*Delay tobacco use. Find something else to do.
Avoid the weight gain trap:
Weight gain is a concern for many patients who quit smoking. However, concerns about gaining weight should not deter any smoker from quitting. One proven way to avoid weight gain is to prepare healthy snacks in advance by cutting up fresh fruit and vegetables into snack-sized baggies. This is a great time to start an exercise program or increase the frequency and intensity of your current exercise program.
No one but you can make your decision to quit smoking. What have you got to lose? If you have tried before and were not completely successful, try again. Your chance for success increases with every attempt.
Army Public Health Nursing and the Army Wellness Center will sponsor a “Trade in and Trade Up” event in preparation for the Great American Smokeout. In return for trading in your lighter or cigarettes, you will receive a “Healthy Survival Kit.” This kit will include several goodies and educational material to help you stay tobacco-free for the day. In addition, you will be entered into a drawing to win a gift certificate from the Fort Drum Commissary to buy groceries for your own Thanksgiving dinner.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations:
*Nov. 14 at the Guthrie Clinic staff break room;
*Nov. 18 at the Fort Drum Post Exchange;
*Nov. 19 at the Fort Drum Commissary; and
*Nov. 20 at the Fort Drum Post Exchange.
This is a great opportunity for tobacco users to leave their habit / addiction behind and start enjoying the future free from tobacco. Join the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21, and make it the one day that you do not use tobacco.
For additional information on tobacco cessation, you may visit or www.; talk to your health care provider; or call the NYS tobacco helpline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or Army Public Health Nursing at 772-6404.

The Mountaineer



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