HONOLULU —Celebrate more birthdays with the American Cancer Society by quitting smoking during this year’s Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 20.
According to American Cancer Society statistics, 890 new cases of lung cancer are predicted to be diagnosed in 2014 in Hawaii. Additionally, lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women, will result in 580 deaths this year in the state.
“All cancers caused by cigarette smoking could be prevented,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer for the Society.
It’s not easy to quit smoking. Studies have indicated that cigarettes are as addictive as heroin, and the first three weeks after you quit are said to be the most difficult. For anyone who wants to “kick the habit” this year, the American Cancer Society offers some helpful tips on how to break free from a smoking addiction.
- Don’t keep it a secret. Include friends and family in the quitting process. They can offer much-needed support.
- You’re not alone. More and more people are trying to break free from cigarettes, and there are lots of support options available. Many communities, employers and health care organizations offer free or low-cost counseling and support. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out what’s available in your area.
- Consider using medication to help quit. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can help deal with withdrawal symptoms and reduce the urge to smoke. Talk to your doctor first, though.
- Dump the memories. Clear the places where you usually smoke of anything such as lighters, ashtrays or matches that reminds you of cigarettes. Also ask other smokers not to smoke around you, and clean your house and car thoroughly to remove the smell of cigarettes.
- Avoid places where smokers gather. Go to the movies or other places where smoking is not allowed.
- Stay calm and stay busy. Nervous energy can be countered by physical and mental activities. Take long strolls and deep breaths of fresh air. Find things to keep your hands busy, like crossword puzzles or yard work.
- Talk to your doctor. Before you begin any plan for quitting smoking, check with a doctor to see what might be the best approach. Remember, quitting smoking is very personal, so there isn’t one perfect method.
- When the urge to smoke strikes, do something else. If you feel a craving for a cigarette, take a deep breath, count to 10 and then do something else. Call a supportive friend. Do brief exercises such as push-ups, walking up a flight of stairs, or touching your toes–anything that will take your mind off your cravings.
- One will hurt. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they have only one cigarette, it’s okay. But even that one smoke can bring back the habit of smoking full time. Keeping a supply of oral substitutes like carrots, apples, raisins, or gum handy can help.
- Water, water everywhere. Drink lots of fluids to help curb cravings. Water is the best for this, so pass up coffee and alcohol, if they trigger r desire to smoke.
If you stumble along the way to giving up smoking, don’t punish yourself. Just try again. The key is to stick with it. You can quit, and the American Cancer Society can help. Contact your American Cancer Society 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society created the trademarked concept for and held its first Great American Smokeout in 1976 as a way to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a day. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good.