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May 31 is World No Tobacco Day

You CAN Kick the Habit for Good! (and CCHC Has a Free Way to Help)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use kills more than 7 million people around the world each year, and that number is predicted to grow unless anti-tobacco actions are increased. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, more than 20 million smoking-related deaths have occurred in the United States since 1964; 2.5 million of those deaths were among non-smokers who died from exposure to secondhand smoke. During that same time, 100,000 babies died due to parental smoking—including smoking during pregnancy.

In the U.S., smoking and use of tobacco products—including cigars and smokeless tobacco—is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. It causes many types of cancer, as well as heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and a host of other health problems.

There’s No Arguing with These Reasons to Quit

So we all know smoking is not healthy for us or those around us. Each of us will have our own checklist of reasons to quit, but the American Lung Association says these are the most common:

Your Health: Quitting smoking is the most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his life according to the Surgeon General. The moment you quit, the damage that has been done to your body begins to repair itself. Quitting at any point in your life is beneficial and worth the improvements you’ll see in your health and lifestyle daily.

Your Bottom Line: Wouldn’t you like to have more money in your pocket? Smoking is expensive and, in some places, a pack of cigarettes can cost up to $10. Even if a pack costs “only” $5 where you live, smoking just one pack a day adds up to $1,825.00 each year! That’s a couple of house payments your throwing away each year!

Less Hassle: More and more states, cities, and companies have passed clean air laws that make bars, restaurants, and other public places smoke free. Aren’t you tired of having to leave your desk in the middle of a project to go outside to smoke? Do you enjoy standing out in the cold or in the rain to have that cigarette?

Loved Ones: Tobacco smoke harms everyone who inhales it, not just the smoker. No matter your age or health status, secondhand smoke is dangerous and can make you sick. Children who live with smokers get more chest colds and ear infections. Babies born to mothers who smoke are more likely to be born prematurely, have a low birth weight, and are prone to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Make a Date

Of course, quitting can be hard, but a good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal and these five steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help:

  1. Set a quit date. Once you’ve decided to quit, you’re ready to pick a quit date. This is a key step so pick a day within the next month. Picking a date too far away gives you time to change your mind! Circle the date on your calendar and make a strong, personal commitment to quit on that day.
  2. Tell your family and friends about your quit plan. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask 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. Surprised? 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 cope.
  • Drink water.
  • Take a walk or ride your bike.
  • Listen to a favorite song or play a game.
  • Call or text a friend.
  1. 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.
  2. Talk to your pharmacist, doctor, or quit line coach about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum, or other approved quit medication can help with cravings.

Body, Heal Thyself

It’s amazing how quickly your body begins to recover after smoking your last cigarette. The American Lung Association has compiled a list of health improvements you can expect to experience as soon as just 20 minutes after quitting:

Twenty minutes after quitting: Your heart rate drops to a normal level.

Twelve hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

Two weeks to three months after quitting: Your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.

One to nine months after quitting: Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

One year after quitting: Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

Five to 15 years after quitting: Your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s and your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.

Ten years after quitting: Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker’s; your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker’s; your risk of getting cervical cancer or cancer of the larynx, kidney, or pancreas decreases.

Fifteen years after quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.

So why are you waiting? The sooner you quit, the sooner you can experience better sleep, an improved sense of taste and smell; and a boost in energy levels!

Want to Quit Smoking, But Don’t Know How?

If you want to quit smoking or haven’t had luck in the past, this class is for you! CCHC offers FREE smoking cessation classes as part of a community awareness program sponsored by the Harold H. Bate Foundation, the North Carolina Community Foundation, and The CCHC Foundation. Instructor Dr. Ronald Preston has helped hundreds of people successfully break the smoking habit. Valuable information will be shared about addiction as well as links between smoking and life-threatening diseases. Many attendees have successfully quit smoking after completing this class and we want to help you too!

Please bring a friend, spouse, or significant other. For more information about smoking cessation classes and class dates, call Stacie Barnett at (252) 672-9690.

(Sources: World Health Organization; American Heart Society; American Lung Association; NSH Inform Scotland; Coastal Carolina Health Care; Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; American Cancer Society; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)