Archive for Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thursday’s the day to be a quitter

Smokers are challenged to pack it in

November 13, 2007


Dr.Lida Osbern, a pulmonologist with Reed Medical Group, 404 Maine, inspects a chest X-ray showing lung cancer. About 87 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. The Great American Smokeout, set for Thursday, encourages smokers to kick the habit.

Dr.Lida Osbern, a pulmonologist with Reed Medical Group, 404 Maine, inspects a chest X-ray showing lung cancer. About 87 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. The Great American Smokeout, set for Thursday, encourages smokers to kick the habit.

On the street

What is a good reason to quit smoking?

Besides cancer?

More responses

The butt stops here. Butt out. Kick butt.

However you say it, the day again is coming when the American Cancer Society reminds smokers that the habit costs money, harms others and can take years off the life of users.

The Great American Smokeout, set for Thursday, is the annual call for smokers to take the challenge to quit by visiting or participating in local smoking-cessation programs.

"There's just so many reasons to do it," said Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. "It's such an important step to take."

The American Cancer Society lists the benefits: decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and a plethora of cancers - and improved health of others who breathe in secondhand smoke. Each year, 3,900 Kansas die from diseases directly linked to smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Kansas Health Policy Authority has targeted tobacco users with its proposals to increase the tobacco tax and impose a statewide ban on smoking in public places.

But many acknowledge that dropping the habit is not easy.

Eudora resident Ray Thomas smoked for more than 50 years before medical problems related to her gums and her dentist's urging convinced her to work on becoming a nonsmoker.

"It was not money that could make me quit," Thomas said. "I would have sacrificed everything for those cigarettes. It's so surprising how very hooked you are."

Thomas set out to quit in 2001. She attended smoking-cessation classes at LMH, finding comfort in realizing that she wasn't the only one struggling with addiction.

Thomas battled the effort on several fronts. She started by taking away her favorite cigarette of the day, the one after breakfast. Then she gave up her second favorite cigarette of the day and so on.

She broke up her routine and made it more difficult to smoke by placing her pack in the trunk of her car.

"Even then as you're driving, you'd have to pull over and stop and get them out of the trunk of the car," she said. "It's no fun if you don't have your habit. It's all a mind game."

Years later and smoke-free, Thomas fights the occasional craving and says she hopes others kick the habit.

Her advice: Change your habits, make small goals and gradually increase them - and stay strong in those seemingly impossible moments when the cravings come.

"The craving is so, so severe," she said, "but it passes quick if you would just hold out."

There is no single solution, said Anderson, who runs American Cancer Society Fresh Start classes and other smoking cessation programs at the hospital.

"Classes aren't for everybody," she said. "Online support isn't for everybody. You've got to try to find the solution that works for you."

Anderson said she advises smokers to develop plans for how they will quit and how they will deal with difficult situations. And she talks with smokers about various methods, such as medication, pills and practices, that can aid in the process.

"The more stuff you can throw at this problem, the more successful you could be," she said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment uses grant funds to offer a toll-free counseling service. Callers to (866) KAN-STOP get around-the-clock access to trained counselors who work with smokers to develop plans for quitting.

The Quitline worked with about 1,400 callers between January and September.

A recent Quitline survey found 46 percent of clients who participated in at least four counseling sessions between June 2006 and May 2007 quit tobacco within three months.

"This is available to anyone in the state," said Ginger Park, media and policy coordinator for the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program. "With any type of tobacco cessation, people have to be ready to quit."


ontheotherhand 10 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket, thank you for your comments. I quit smoking at last year's Smoke Out so this week marks my one-year anniversary (I smoked for 30 years). Although I did not see your post as a "horror story" as Marion did, I agree with Marion in that smokers have to decide for themselves when it's time to quit. It sounds like your dad had all of the info available to him concerning the dangers of smoking and he knew the risks (this material is widely available, Marion, so I do not know why you mentioned all of these in your posts except to reinforce your belief that Py's post was merely written as a scare tactic). He simply could not quit.

Trust me; I know how he must have felt. Even though I haven't smoked for a year, I still think about cigarettes and would LOVE to enjoy a nice quiet smoke on my patio in the summertime. But I and my partner have a really good life right now and we realize that I have a chance to live a lot longer (barring getting hit by a bus or a Last Call bullet) and pay less medical insurance during our retirement years if I continue to be a non-smoker. So I continue to chew nicotine gum like it's candy as I carry around these pesky additional 20 pounds of fat that I hope to get off soon. And I smile when I think that not smoking will keep me healthier in the future.

So, Py, thanks for reinforcing the fact that quitting was a good idea. Take care.

ridinthefence 10 years, 5 months ago

You are both right. It is extremely heartwrenching to watch someone die of Lung Cancer. And Marion you are so right. Condemning someone for what at least used to be a very socially accepted habit? Holler all you want but a smoker will quit when he is good and ready to quit. We are all creatures of habit and some of us just picked up that particular habit. People that have quit KNOW how hard it is, someone that never had to do that should zip it up.

Alia Ahmed 10 years, 5 months ago


I thought your post was eloquent and heart-felt. I think you did a great job of describing your father and his entire life which was obviously rich and full. I don't hear you judging your father or other smokers, I think you display a great deal of empathy for them. It's okay to feel passionate about this issue. Thanks for sharing your family's story with us.

CindiCat 10 years, 5 months ago

"Pywacket", I am very sorry for your loss.

"Marion", I never thought I would ever have the chance to say this to actually did well with your post. I am serious.

I consider smoking as my only "vice". Although, there are others who know me way too well who would vehemently argue that my being "loud and opinionated" are a couple of others. I view those as components of my "personality traits" that I work very hard on!!

While I have managed to "cut back" on my smoking, I have not quit entirely.

When I see my doctor, once a year, he does his "stop smoking" speech and I honestly tune him out. After he is off HIS soap box, I take my turn. As with his speech being the same, so is my rebuttal:::."It's either this or drink. I CAN smoke and drive. I CAN'T drink and drive".

I know that that sounds "flip" and I know that I should quit. I don't want to. I view this as MY choice.

Thank you for letting me add my 2 cents.

ontheotherhand 10 years, 5 months ago

Solomon, did you go to a hypnotist around here? If so, would you mind passing on the name of the office? I had never heard that hypnosis really works until your post. Thanks for the info!

Eric Neuteboom 10 years, 5 months ago

Py, thanks for sharing. That was definitely heart-felt and appreciated. I don't know why Marion and his self-absorbed, self-righteous opinions feel the need to bash you. Maybe because Marion has nobody to love him like you did your dad.

Personally, I'm going on 8 months smoke free now. Feeling better about it each day, but it was hard to quit after 10 years. I truly hope many others will use this as the impetus to quit.

acg 10 years, 5 months ago

I've tried it all! Cold turkey, weaning off of them, the gum, the patch, , the pills,the inhaler, $250 an hour hypnotherapy sessions, none of it has worked. I keep trying, but I keep failing. I always feel as if I'll be able to quit when I have less stress but trying to quit stresses me out so much. I get mean, snappy, grumpy, hungry, angry and sick to my tummy. My logical brain knows that those side effects will go away after a few days but I can't seem to get past that first week hurdle. If only someone would lock me in a padded room for a week so I can quit without alienating my friends, family and coworkers with my nasty trying to quit smoking attitude. Or better yet, can I get an induced coma for a week or two? That would be a win-win. Nicotine leaves the body without the awful side effects and I can catch up on my sleep.

laughingatallofu 10 years, 5 months ago

While my heart goes out to all of those who smoked and "didn't know any better', we've known for at LEAST 40 years that "smoking is hazardous to your health". For those of you who did know, but smoked anyway because you thought it was sexy or cool, well, you better take a deep breath while you can, because you don't have too many left. Anyone who takes up smoking now is stupid and is a LOSER. You know who you are. I'm going to have to pay for you health problems eventually. If I've offended you, tough --- dumbsh(t.

torcia 10 years, 5 months ago

everyone knows that you have to quit on a Monday...Its like a successful workout the way would you idiots who show up to the gym monday and tuesday then not to be seen until the following monday just give up!

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

According to Marion: "Want to help someone stop smoking? Spend $25 and buy a smoker a nicotine gum pack. Give them links to sites which tell them about the things that they can do to help themselves stop smoking but fer cryin' out loud! Talk to them aboaut proper diet which will help them stop smoking."

It's interesting that Marion blamed Pywacket for soundling like a Mother, then he suggests sounding like a Mother.

Kontum1972 10 years, 5 months ago

actually they know the risk's....da smokers.....but they dont let them croak, its their life and if they really cared they would they didnt care about "you" complaining about how they might die....

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