Thirty-five years ago, the American Cancer Society launched the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to not smoke for at least 24 hours and hopefully inspire many to quit smoking for good. On Nov. 18, the 35th Great American Smokeout will take place. Success in quitting smoking doesn’t come easy for most smokers, and many will attempt more than once before they completely quit. To increase your chance of successfully quitting forever, here are a few tips that may help:
Set a Quit Date. The quit date should be no longer than two weeks away. Mark the date on the calendar and check off the days until you reach the day. Think about the benefits of quitting. Ask yourself questions to increase your motivation, such as:
■ Why should I quit? How will my decision to quit benefit my health?
■ How much money will I save when I quit?
■ How will quitting benefit my loved ones?
■ What will I like most about being a non-smoker?
■ What do I hate most about smoking?
Avoid making excuses like “just one puff will relieve my cravings,” “I’ve been smoking too long to quit,” “smoking takes away my stress,” or “I’ve tried before and failed, so why try again.”
Seek help and support. When making a lifestyle change, support is essential to success. Once you’ve decided to quit, call the Colorado Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to receive free cessation support, nicotine patches or gum. There are a wide array of cessation aids available, including nicotine replacement therapies, prescription medications, counseling, acupuncture and hypnosis. Speak to your health care provider to determine which therapy is most appropriate for you.
Remember, quitting smoking is difficult, but not impossible. Make a plan, set the date and be a quitter. You can do it.
Vicki Barron, RN, AE-C
Community health educator, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association