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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Quit smoking in your own way

January 30, 2019
By Nancy Buthman, APRN , Pine Island Eagle

"Why would I want to stop smoking? I enjoy it. It makes me feel good. It helps me when I'm stressed. It keeps my weight down. I've tried and it's so hard to quit."

Let's face it smoking is a tough habit to break. The good news is that it can be done.

There are many reasons why you should quit. According to the American Lung Association, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. There are more than 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S. from tobacco which is more than all deaths from car accidents, alcohol, illegal drugs and murders combined. Smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Cigarettes cause at least 12 other types of cancer including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas. If no one smoked, 1 in 3 cancers could be prevented.

Many people don't know that tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals, including arsenic that is used in rat poisoning, tar, lead, methanol and formaldehyde. Ammonia found in cigarettes is also found in dog pee and used in household cleaners.

And it's expensive. For many families, the cost of cigarettes is a significant part of the monthly budget. In Florida, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is between $6 and $7. A one pack a day habit costs almost $2,500 a year. Think of what you could do with the hundreds of dollars smokers "invest" in cigarettes each month.

Many people feel like smoking relieves stress but it actually does the opposite. The habit of grabbing a smoke when the pressure is on is offset by the negative physical effects of smoking And, last but not least, it ages us faster.

What happens once you quit smoking? In 2 weeks to 3 months your risk of heart attack starts to decrease and after a year it decreases sharply. Within 5 years, your stroke risk is the same as non-smokers and the risk of many cancers will decrease by half. By 10 years, lung cancer risk is cut in half. And, you'll see the benefit in your monthly budget immediately, kind of like giving yourself a raise. Finally, you benefit those around you friends, children and grandchildren by eliminating the impact of second hand stroke.

As you can see there are so many reasons why you should quit. You don't have to do it alone. There are many tools to help you do this. One of the first things is to make a plan so you can get over the hurdles. Know how to prepare for cravings, learn about coping skills, how to stay motivated, how to handle withdrawal symptoms.

There will be a 2-hour class on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Beacon of HOPE. You will learn about the different tools available to help you quit and stay that way. It will teach you how to use these tools and where to get help if you need it.

To register - call 877-819-2357. It could save your life.

For more information, call the Beacon of HOPE at 239-283-5123 or visit

The Beacon of HOPE is located at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle in St. James City.



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