So you’ve decided to quit smoking. This is it.
Now, you’re trying to decide when would be the right time. Definitely before your next birthday. At least before your daughter’s birthday. And certainly before your husband’s birthday.
But how about quitting a little earlier, maybe this month? At least for a day.
The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 16, which offers a perfect opportunity to quit smoking, and it’s a week before Thanksgiving. By quitting — even for one day — you’ll be taking an important step. And each step a smoker takes toward becoming smoke-free builds upon other steps.
As Dr. Mitch Tener of Lawrence Pulmonary Specialists says, “Studies show that the more you counsel somebody, the greater success they will have in quitting smoking.”
So Tener and his associates talk with their patients who smoke about stopping smoking. And they do it again. And again.
Smoking is the No. 1 cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is commonly known as COPD and actually is an overarching term for a variety of progressive lung problems that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These diseases are marked by symptoms that include wheezing, a chronic cough and shortness of breath.
Although the damage that smoking causes to a person’s lungs can’t be reversed, Tener says, there are many reasons to stop smoking. The functioning of everyone’s lungs declines with age, and smoking accelerates that decline.
“Within a year of quitting smoking, the decline goes back to the rate of the normal aging population,” Tener says.
He cautions that a longtime smoker’s lungs never will be the same as those of a person who never smoked.
Although cigarette smoking rates have dropped — from 42 percent of Americans in 1965 to 15.1 percent in 2015 — other types of smoking are on the rise, according to the American Cancer Society, which emphasizes there is no “safe” way to smoke tobacco.
To learn more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which commonly is known as COPD, plan to attend the Nov. 14 Senior Supper and Seminar at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Mitch Tener of Lawrence Pulmonary Specialists will discuss “COPD: Out with the Bad; In with the Good” at the seminar. Supper, which costs $5.50, is served at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. seminar is free.
Seating is limited, so please call LMH Connect Care at 785-505-5800 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat. Reservations close 24 hours in advance or if room capacity is reached.
If you would like to participate in the Great American Smokeout, check out the cancer society’s website at cancer.org, where you will find lots of helpful information.
And if you would like to support a friend or family member on their journey to becoming a former smoker, here is some information provided by the American Cancer Society that might be helpful:
• Respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.
• Ask the person whether they want you to ask regularly how they’re doing.
• Let the person know that it’s OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words.
• Help the quitter get what they need, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.
• Spend time doing things with the quitter to keep their mind off smoking: go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving or take a bike ride together.
• Try to see it from the smoker’s point of view — a smoker’s habit may feel like an old friend that’s always been there when times were tough. It’s hard to give that up.
• Make your home smoke-free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house. Remove all lighters and ashtrays from your home.
• Wash clothes that smell like smoke. Clean carpets and drapes. Use air fresheners to help get rid of the tobacco smells, and don’t forget the car.
• Celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a big deal.
— Caroline Trowbridge is marketing communications manager for Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She can be reached at email@example.com.