This World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) are taking on the Tobacco industry and the ways it targets the youth. Under the theme #Tobacco Exposed, PAHO/WHO are highlighting the dangerous effects of tobacco use in hopes of enlightening tobacco users to get them to quit.
And with the call from PAHO to increase efforts to support smokers who want to quit, Jamaica Moves has compiled 6 Easy to follow tips to quit smoking.
But first, here are a few facts about tobacco use:
A lot of young people may not know that smoking tobacco has been linked to various respiratory or lung conditions, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as: stroke, heart disease and a variety of cancers.
TOBACCO USE KILLS 8 MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR
1.2 MILLION PEOPLE DIE FROM SECOND HAND SMOKE
21.5% OF JAMAICAN CHILDREN 13-15 HAD A CIGARETTE BEFORE AGE 10
CIGARETTE AND VAPE USE MAKE PEOPLE VULNERABLE TO COVID-19
Tobacco use is also linked to a reduced function of the immune system - a fact that cannot be ignored as the world continues to grapple with COVID-19. COVID-19 is no joke and it gets worse with smoking. So for these reasons, there has never been a better time for people to stop using tobacco.
Here's how to get started on kicking the habit of smoking tobacco for good!
1) List Your reasons for Quitting.
According to the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), when you write a list of reasons you want to quit, whether it’s to reduce your risk of getting an NCD or to improve your health overall, it helps you to stay motivated. Try to put that list in a place where you can see it everyday such as on your refrigerator or on your phone.
2) Choose a date to stop and stick to it.
When you identify a date, you can use some time leading up to that date to prepare yourself for the changes. Identify your triggers. Some people smoke in social situations, when they’re stressed, anxious, or generally experiencing intense emotions. Try to think of and plan to exercise alternative means of dealing with those triggers - some suggestions include: listen to music, meditate, keep active, connect with non-smokers, assign an 'accountability buddy' (someone who you may call on to hold you accountable during urges) and try a new hobby.
3) Take it one day at a time.
Focus on not smoking and do not be fooled into comforting yourself by having ‘just one’. The NCDA also suggests that you ‘reward yourself each time you resist the urge to smoke.’ When you feel the urge to smoke, try to delay acting on the urge, take deep breaths, drink some water and call your ‘accountability buddy’ to help you through the urge.
4) Avoid situations where smoking/vaping is encouraged.
If you notice that you tend to smoke around certain people or places, avoid them. If others around you smoke as well, encourage them to join you on your journey to quit. During your preparation you are encouraged to get rid of all cigarettes and vaping paraphernalia from your house or anywhere else you keep them.
Many people who try to quit, experience various other issues such as withdrawals. And regular exercise is one way to cope with potential withdrawals, irritability or other emotional upset from quitting - plus it has a reel of other health benefits. It is also suggested that you reflect on your progress and how healthy you’re becoming and you can find tips and a routine through Jamaica Moves.
6) Finally, connect with a healthcare professional who can help.
The NCDA says ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help’ – the NCDA has a Help line 876-564-HELP (876-564-4357) with trained counsellors to assist.
They can help with managing strong emotions, developing plans for quitting and helping you to stay on track.’ And during times of social distancing, the Council suggests online resources such as MyQuitBuddy from the App Store or Google Play that are free and personalized.
Just remember that you’re quitting for YOU and your health. The first few weeks may be most difficult but even if you slip up, keep trying and learn from the setback.