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Today's Family Magazine

Quitting can make you a winner

Quitting smoking and other tobacco products can be a challenge, but you have so much to win by quitting.  You will lower your risk for lung cancer and other diseases, will breathe easier, and have more energy.  Today, there are more former smokers than current smokers and you have the power to start your quit journey.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world and nearly 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.  Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about one in five deaths. Often, the younger a person was when they started to smoke, the more intense the addiction.

According to the 2015 Lake County Community Health Assessment, the overall smoking rate for adults is 23.2%. The 2014 Youth Health Status Assessment identified that 10% of Lake County youth in grades 6th – 12th were smokers, increasing to 19% of those who were over the age of 17.  The average age of onset for smoking in Lake County was 13.1 years old.

On November 16, 2018, the American Cancer Society will host its 42nd Great American Smokeout and will encourage the tens of millions of adults in the United States who currently smoke to quit.  If you smoke now, consider using this date to begin your quit journey.  Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions you can have.  If you have tried to quit in the past but were unsuccessful, don’t give up.  Quitting can be difficult, and it often takes multiple quit attempts to succeed.  One way to begin is by allowing others to support you. Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling to quit.  It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice.  To learn more about this event, visit American Cancer Society—The Great American Smokeout (  Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and speak with a specialist to help you quit tobacco.

You’re taking an important step toward creating a healthier tobacco free life when you set out to quit smoking.  A good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal.  The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest you take these five steps to help improve your success:
  1. Set a quit date.  Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next two weeks.
  2. Tell your family and friends about your quit plan.  Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask them for support. A daily phone call, e-mail, or text message can help you stay on course and provide moral support.
  3. Be prepared for challenges.  The urge to smoke is short—usually only three to five minutes - but those moments can feel intense.  Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger.  Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to help cope.  Some ideas include:
    • Drink water
    • Exercise
    • Listen to a favorite song or play a game
    • Call or text a friend
    • Get social support by joining @CDCTobaccoFree on Facebook and Twitter
    • Sign up for SmokefreeTEXT ( for 24/7 help on your mobile phone.
  4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car, and workplace.  Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays.  Clean and freshen your car, home, and workplace.  Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.
  5. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider about quit options.  Nicotine patches, gum, or other approved quit medication can help.