HHH: Butt Out

health column

With Info from www.mayoclinic.com

Ready to quit smoking? Good for you! Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you are not sure how to start, consider these strategies. Experiment until you find what works best.

• Put it on paper. Consider what you don’t like about smoking and why you want to quit smoking. Bad breath? Reduce your risk of heart attack? Have more energy? Set a better example for your kids? Write it down. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, take out the list to remind yourself why you want to quit smoking. Think of all the benefits, such as a longer and healthier life. You will enjoy better health, and have more money to spend on the things you enjoy!

• Seek support. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are planning to quit smoking. Ask anyone in your household who smokes to quit with you. Join a support group either in person or online. Try quitsmokenow.org for a local resource. For teenagers and young adults, try www.LeaveThePackBehind.org. It regularly has an information table set up on campus.

• Take it slow. You might want to start by just cutting back. Delay your first cigarette of the day, or make it inconvenient to smoke. Keep your cigarettes and lighter in the car when you are in the house working. Smoke only half of each cigarette. But only one pack at a time. Trade a smoking break for a brisk walk or other physical activity. Set a date to quit smoking.

• Avoid smoking triggers. Recognize high-risk situations - and do your best to avoid them. Go to places where smoking isn’t allowed, such as a museum or movie theatre. Hang out with people who don’t smoke. It helps to replace old habits with new routines that aren’t associated with smoking. Chew gum while you drive. Get up immediately from the table as soon as you finish eating.

• Try a stop-smoking product. Ask your doctor about them. Some popular choices are nicotine gum and the patch. These can help with withdrawal symptoms. Visit the Health Centre in Room 165.

• Relax. Stress and anxiety may increase your urge to smoke. To keep stress under control, prioritize your tasks. Take a break when you need it. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Listen to your favourite music. Reward yourself for not smoking by doing something you enjoy, such as walking in the park or soaking in the tub.

• Take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about next week or next month. Focus on today. Every hour without smoking brings you one step closer to quitting for good.

• Learn from your mistakes. If you slip, don’t give up. Identify what went wrong, and ask yourself what you learned from the experience. Then decide what changes can help you succeed next time.

Aside from feeling better (and feeling better about yourself), here’s another incentive to quit smoking: CASH. Once again this year, the Leave The Pack Behind program and various healthcare partners are staging the “WouldURather” contest for students. It provides a number of big cash prizes in several smoking cessation categories. Hurry! Registration ends on January 28, and the contest starts the following day and runs into early March. More info, and online registration, at wouldurather.ca.