At Klickitat Valley Health, we are working every day to ‘make healthy changes.’ As part of that promise to our community, we have also placed a priority on helping YOU make healthy changes. One of the best healthy changes you can make this year is to quit tobacco. It is also one of the hardest changes. If your 2019 New Year’s resolution is to quit tobacco for good, you’re likely in good company.
Tobacco use kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hundreds of these chemicals are harmful. About 70 can cause cancer.
Barriers to quit smoking
Nicotine is highly addictive, making it challenging to quit. Over time, smokers become physically and emotionally addicted to nicotine. Smokers must address both their physical and psychological dependency to quit and stay a non-smoker.
Additional barriers include fear of withdrawal, stress, others in the house that smoke, weight gain and fear of failure.
Quick tips to quit smoking
Even though it can be scary to make the decision to quit smoking, it’s the right choice for your health, your mind and your body. The following tips will help take it from a hypothetical idea to a reality:
- Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss medication to help you quit. Your doctor can write you a prescription for over-the-counter medications like patches and gum.
- What’s your reason? Identify your motivation to quit and write the reason on post-it notes. Place these notes in visible places, especially spots where you typically smoked. They’ll serve as a visual reminder not to light up.
- Set the date. Pick a date on your calendar to become a non-smoker – and stick to it.
- The first week will be your hardest. You can expect setbacks, unforeseen
- Ask for support. Family, friends, spouse, significant others, co-workers – tell them about your plan to quit smoking and ask for support. Better yet – ask them to join you! Accountability partners can help you to stick with quitting.
- Pinpoint your triggers. Three common triggers are being around other smokers, drinking alcohol and being stressed or sad. While it’s best to avoid these situations during the quitting process, that may not always be possible, so use your knowledge about your triggers and develop a strategy to manage your cravings before they happen.
- Fight the urge. If you have an urge to smoke, wait just 10 minutes. Drinking a glass of water or if not diabetic, drinking some orange juice will help the urge. Keep busy.
- Adopt replacement habits. Think about some things you’re going to do to replace the role tobacco plays in your life. If you use smoking as a tool to overcome stress, for instance, you may want to replace it with a healthy relaxation technique, such as yoga, meditation or exercise.
We want to help you quit
At Klickitat Valley Health, we are your health partner every step of the way. If you’re interested in learning more about quitting smoking, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with any one of our Providers at KVH Family Medicine. To establish care, please call the clinic at (509) 773-4017. Also on staff is KVH Respiratory Therapist Mark Vogel, a trained addiction counselor and smoking cessation resource. Please call KVH Respiratory Therapy at (509) 773-1068 for more information.