Nov. 20: Great American Smokeout a chance to end your tobacco addiction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 20, 2013
Prevention Services Division
Great American Smokeout a chance to end your tobacco addiction
Colorado smokers who are ready to quit can get help from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment during, and following, the Great American Smokeout
Nov. 21. Though smoking rates have dropped since 1976, the Smokeout’s first year, tobacco use remains the leading cause of death and disease in Colorado, killing more than 4,300 smokers each year and costing the state billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity.
“The Great American Smokeout gives Colorado smokers a chance to join other Americans as they break free from the toxic effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Smokers can use this day and the many resources available to stop smoking or make a plan to quit.”
For Coloradans ready for a tobacco-free future, there is help available:
- Colorado QuitLine – Smokers who are ready to quit can call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The QuitLine offers free, personalized, confidential telephone and web-based support for smokers and their families.
- Colorado QuitLine Facebook Page – Smokers who need help quitting can share their stories and get help from others who are quitting.
- Tobaccofreeco.org – Smokers and their families can learn more about tobacco, find quit-smoking resources or get involved in making Colorado smoke-free.
- Coquitmobile.org – Smokers who prefer to use their mobile devices can get help quitting through this text message-based program that provides instant support and coaching when they feel the urge to use tobacco.
In Colorado, the overall rate of tobacco use dropped from 19.7 percent in 2001 to 17.2 percent in 2012. A recent survey shows six of 10 Colorado smokers tried to quit in 2012, but fewer than one in 10 were successful. Research shows it takes most people several attempts before they quit for good.
The benefits of quitting are real and immediate. Within 20 minutes after quitting, a smoker’s heart rate and blood pressure drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in his or her blood decrease. And within two weeks of quitting, a smoker’s lung and circulation functions improve. Long term, an ex-smoker can expect to live longer and will be less likely to develop cancer and heart disease. Smokers’ families can expect to breathe easier, free from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke.
For those ready to quit:
- Set a quit smoking date – Make a pledge to quit and set a quit date. Tell friends and family about your quit day so they can support you.
- Write down why you want to quit – Whether you want to improve your health, set a better example for your kids or protect your family from secondhand smoke, you are more likely to quit if you write down your motivation and visualize success. Picture yourself smoke-free and around to enjoy life’s great moments: a son’s graduation, a daughter’s wedding or grandchildren playing at your feet.
- Make smoke-free home and car rules – Instituting a no-smoking policy at home and in your car can help you quit, keep your children from starting, and save you and your loved ones from the health consequences of secondhand smoke. Clean the tobacco smell from your home and car; get rid of cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays; and make a pledge to keep your home, car and family smoke-free.
- Determine your triggers and avoid them – Long after you stop smoking, certain situations or event can trigger your craving for a cigarette. Whether your triggers are stress, driving, talking on the phone or sitting down with your favorite adult beverage – try to change those routines linked to smoking. When a craving strikes, substitute your usual triggers with healthier behaviors such as going for a walk, munching on healthy snacks or working in the garden. Instead of reaching for a cigarette to relieve stress, try deep-breathing, stretching or exercising.
- Get professional help. Talk to your health care provider or the trained professional quit coaches at the Colorado QuitLine. They can help you make a quit plan; counsel you on ways to avoid your triggers; and provide you with nicotine replacement products such as gum, patches or FDA-approved cessation medications. Health plans and employers are required by federal and state law to cover quit-smoking services.