By Jo Ann Hummers on November 17, 2020
Each year the Great American Smokeout is held on the third Thursday of November, which is November 19 this year. This date can be your quit date OR it can be the day that you develop your own plan to quit smoking. The Office on Smoking and Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) provides encouragement and reminders about why quitting smoking is so serious and vital to your health!
The CDC reminds us that “you can start breathing easier when you quit smoking, and you can get on the path to becoming smokefree by setting a quit date. That’s what the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is all about: joining the millions of Americans who have quit smoking! By making a commitment to quit this November 19th, you’re protecting your future health and lowering your risk for serious lung disease.
Smoking weakens your immune system, lowering your body’s ability to fight off disease. We know that adults who smoke have a higher risk for getting sick with pneumonia and having severe illness from infections like the flu. Adults who smoke also have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you smoke, the best choice for your lung health is to quit.”
The CDC website includes stories about many people who have developed serious illnesses in their “Tips From Former Smokers”. One of them, Geri M., “wishes she had quit smoking cigarettes long before she did. Because of her COPD, Geri had to quit her job as a postal worker. Most cases of COPD, including Geri’s, are caused by smoking cigarettes.” (See their website for stories of people living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities.)
For people struggling to quit, Geri wants her story to be a lesson. “I didn’t really take it seriously,” she says of her illness, “and I should have.”
You can reduce your risk for COPD by quitting smoking now. Or, if you’ve already been diagnosed with COPD, you can still benefit from quitting. Quitting smoking is the number one way you can slow down the progression of the disease.”
Luckily, your lung health—and your overall health—improves soon after you quit. You will start breathing better and coughing less.
One of the most important actions anyone who smokes can take to improve their health is to quit smoking, regardless of their age or how long they have been smoking. There are proven treatments to help you quit:
* Whether you want to make your quitting journey at your own pace or with a group ,a counselor can help you make a plan to quit smoking and give you tips and support to increase your chance of success. Counseling is available in person, over the phone, or online—and texting-based support programs or smartphone apps can give extra encouragement.
* Seven FDA-approved medications are proven to help people quit smoking. These include pills, patches, gums, and lozenges; some are prescribed by your doctor, and others you can get over the counter at a pharmacy.
If you smoke, and are thinking about quitting, make this year’s Great American Smokeout the day you commit to a smokefree future.”
Jo Ann Hummers, EdD, is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. She has a private practice at the Nags Head Professional Center. Her work includes DWI assessments and treatment, smoking cessation sessions, and treatment for gambling and other addictions