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Great American Smokeout
If you smoke, chances are you want to quit. Almost 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, and about 40 percent make at least one attempt each year. November 17 marks the 41st annual Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers are encouraged to quit for one day, with the hope that they’ll extend that day to one more, and one more, on the path to becoming smoke-free for life.
 
Quitting is hard, and some smokers make several attempts before they’re able to quit for good. So if you’ve tried to quit before, don’t be discouraged. Keep trying until you succeed. The best method of quitting will vary from smoker to smoker. Some may go cold turkey, while some may use cessation aids, and others may use counseling and lifestyle changes. Discuss your options with your doctor to choose the method that’s best for you.
 
Benefits of Quitting
 
When you quit, the health benefits start immediately, and you get healthier every day. Here’s a timeline of how your body starts to recover as soon as you put out that last cigarette:
 
  • 20 minutes: Heart rate returns to normal and blood pressure goes down
  • 8 hours: the carbon monoxide level in your bloodstream drops and the oxygen level returns to normal
  • 2 days: improved sense of taste and smell
  • 2 to 4 days: nicotine and its by-products are gone from your system
  • 2 to 9 weeks: improved breathing and circulation
  • 1 year: risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker
  • 5 years: reduced risk of lung cancer and other cancers
 
Whatever cessation method you choose, these tips can help you succeed:
 
  • Plan ahead. Set a quit date, and on that day, throw out all your ashtrays and lighters.
  • Tell family and friends you’re quitting and ask for their support
  • Write down your motivations for quitting – your health, your family and friends, setting a good example for your kids, saving money
  • Vary your routine to avoid smoking triggers as much as possible
  • Remember that cravings last only a few minutes. When a craving strikes, distract yourself until it passes. Take a short walk, call a friend, remember your motivations for quitting.
  • Download smoking cessation apps that can help you stay motivated
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand
  • Monitor your progress and reward yourself when you reach milestones
  • Calculate how much money you’re saving
  • Share your progress on social media, and encourage others who are quitting
 
If you’ve been thinking about quitting, make the Great American Smokeout a smoke-free day, and talk to your doctor about methods to help ensure that this day is the start of a healthier, happier smoke-free life.
 
ND Quits provides a wide variety of tobacco cessation services to North Dakota residents.