BY: KATHY STAATS
With 2013 behind us and a full year ahead, the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance and its partners invite those who use tobacco to think about quitting their addiction in 2014.
If you’re looking for good reasons to quit, here are a few to keep in mind:
- You will set a great example if you have kids in your life; it takes a lot of strength to quit
- Your chances of having cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, cataracts, and other diseases will go down
- You won’t have to worry about when you can smoke next or where you can or can’t smoke
- If you smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, you can save nearly $2,000 in 2014 by quitting in the new year
Another good early step is identifying your triggers. Common triggers can include:
- Feeling down, stressed, or lonely
- Drinking alcohol or coffee
- Seeing someone else smoke
- Driving, watching TV, or talking on the phone
You won’t be able to avoid all smoking triggers, so it’s important to make a plan for how to handle cravings. Make a list of things you can do to distract yourself, such as:
- Wait 15 minutes. Challenge yourself to read a magazine, listen to music, or play your favorite game. Cravings typically only last 5-10 minutes!
- Calculate your savings. Cigarettes are expensive. Add up all the money you’re saving and decide what you’re going to buy with it.
- Do something else. When a craving hits, stop what you’re doing immediately and do something else. Simply changing your routine can help you shake off a craving.
- Keep your mouth busy. Bum a stick of gum instead of a cigarette, or keep hard candy with you. Drinking water also works!
Remember that although electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are heavily marketed as such, the FDA has not yet proven that they are an effective cessation tool. It is advised to follow cessation techniques proven to be effective.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to do it alone. Free quit tobacco use help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW. The staff at the Quit Line has helped thousands of tobacco users quit over the years, and they can help you too.
No one ever said quitting tobacco use is easy, but it’s worth it. To those trying to quit—stick with it. And to those thinking about quitting, know that you can beat your addiction and live a tobacco-free life.