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Smoking: Become a Quitter

quit smoking

President-elect Barack Obama is one of the 21% of Americans who smoke. The White House has a no smoking policy. According to an interview given in the November issue of Men's Health magazine, his heaviest smoking is seven or eight cigarettes a day though more often only three a day.

Like many smokers, Mr. Obama has quit several times, restarted, used nicotine gum and patches. It is not unusual for an average smoker to try 8-10 times to quit before being successful.

Smoking is harmful to your health and those around you. Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States.

There are many reasons to quit smoking:

* Smoking is linked to at least 10 different cancers (lung, bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, oral and throat cancers, acute myeloid leukemia, cervical, kidney, pancreatic, and stomach).
* Smoking is linked to chronic lung diseases (emphysema, asthma)
* Smoking is linked to coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases
* Smoking is linked to reproductive effects and sudden infant death syndrome.
* Smoking is linked to periodontitis.
* Smoking is linked to osteoporosis.
* Smoking is linked to poor wound healing.
* Smoking is linked to Alzheimer's, impotence, Lupus, etc.
* Smoking ages your skin.

Another reason in today's economy is the expense of smoking. A pack-a-day habit cost around $1000 a year. Non-smokers often pay lower car insurance premiums.

Tips on quitting smoking:

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1. Set a quit date.

2. Change your environment by removing ALL cigarettes and ashtrays from your home, car, and work place.

3. Don't cheat – not even one puff! But if you do, don't take that as surrender. Keep trying.

4. Seek support and encouragement, even if by phone. You can call toll free at 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).

5. See your doctor and ask about nicotine gum and or patches.

With nicotine replacements and counseling, quit rates at one year are 15 percent to 30 percent which is nearly twice that of those who try without help.

Falling off the wagon is typical. Three months, six months and a year are major milestones, and most people who can quit for a year will be able to stay off cigarettes for good.

American Cancer Society
New York Times
Stamp Out Smoking Program