Submitted by the Central Mass. Tobacco Free Community Partnership
Region – With the holidays and 2016 fast approaching, make a resolution for a healthier life for you and your family. If you’re a smoker, quitting is the most important step you can take to protect your health, decreasing the risk of lung disease, cancer, and even early death.
If you want to quit and tried in the past, don’t give up. It often takes several tries before you can quit for good. However, with planning and support, you can become tobacco-free.
Fortunately, most health insurance plans cover quit-smoking medicines. The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 800-QUIT NOW (800-784-8669) is also available for free coaching seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. to support you through quitting. You can get four weeks of free nicotine patches at the Helpline (with medical eligibility). The combination of free coaching and cessation medication can make you three times as likely to quit for good.
Quitting smoking can be hard—here are five ways to make it easier:
1. Set a quit date. Choose a quit day this month; give yourself about two weeks to prepare.
2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with important people and ask for their support. Daily encouragement and planned activities can help you stay on track. For example, a smoke-free lunch date or game night could help distract you.
3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to smoke is short – usually only three to five minutes. Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit date, write down healthy ways to cope with cravings so you can get past them. Healthy choices include drinking water; taking a walk or climbing the stairs; or calling or texting a friend.
4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your daily routine. Throw away your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays. Clean your car and home. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.
5. Talk to your doctor about quit-smoking medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can help you quit for good. Your quit coach and pharmacist can also provide guidance.
For more information, call 800-QUIT-NOW or visit makesmokinghistory.org.