With the new year just around the corner, people will be getting started on their New Year’s resolutions. One that consistently appears at the top of many lists is “quitting smoking.”
Louisianians will likely be no different. According to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings Report from the United Health Foundation, the state currently ranks 47th for tobacco use with 22.8 percent of the state’s adult population using tobacco. That number is up from 21.9 percent in 2016.
The national average, however, is down from 17.5 in 2016 to 17.1 in 2017. The state’s overall health ranking is now 49th, unchanged from 2016.
“In spite of smoking bans in cities around the state, increased cigarette taxes, HUD-mandated smoke-free public housing, and Big Tobacco finally telling the truth through its “corrective statement” about the adverse health effects of smoking, Louisiana citizens continue to smoke in higher than average numbers,” said Mike Rogers, CEO, Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services. “To that end, the Trust continues to help people face their challenges by offering eligible smokers free products and services that could help them kick their addiction. To date, the Smoking Cessation Trust has enrolled more than 83,000 members.”
To help you with your New Year’s resolution to kick the habit, the Centers for Disease Control has five steps for a cigarette-free 2018.
Step One: Set a quit date
Pick a date—like the start of the New Year—to quit smoking. This will give you enough time to prepare. Really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke (for example, a night out with friends, days where you may smoke at work).
Step Two: Tell family and friends that you are trying to quit
Telling family, friends and coworkers about a quit attempt can increase a smoker’s chances of success. By sharing what kind of support a smoker is looking for–either encouragement or accountability–the loved one can be involved in the process. The more people a smoker has in his corner, the more likely he is to succeed. Have a spouse or friend who wants to quit too? Do it together!
Step Three: Plan for challenges while quitting
Stopping smoking is not just about dealing with nicotine cravings. Many smokers need to work through the habitual tendencies surrounding cigarette use. By going to a group workshop run by a certified tobacco treatment specialist (“CTTS”) smokers can learn how to work through cravings and triggers like stress, boredom and nervousness without reaching for a cigarette. Many major hospitals across the state offer cessation counseling, contact the Trust for a full list.
Step Four: Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car, and work
You will be tempted to smoke during your quit. Stay strong; you can do it! Removing things that remind you of smoking will get you ready to quit. A few good ideas are:
- Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Give or throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Remember the ashtray and lighter in your car!
- Don’t save one pack of cigarettes “just in case.” Keeping even one pack just makes it easier to start smoking again.
- Remove the smell of cigarettes from your life. Make things clean and fresh at work‚ in your car‚ and at home. Clean your drapes and clothes. Shampoo your car interior. You will be less tempted to light up if you don’t smell smoke.
Have your dentist clean your teeth to get rid of smoking stains. Your teeth will look amazing. When you quit smoking, they will always look that way.
Step Five: Talk with your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or pharmaceutical help
Smokers should discuss cessation treatments with their doctor. The Smoking Cessation Trust provides access to all recommended cessation methods through their statewide provider partners; knowing an individual’s medical history, the doctor can suggest and prescribe pharmaceuticals or a nicotine replacement therapy that will work best for each smoker. Doctors can also talk about the benefits of quitting and what to expect.
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