It’s tough to be a quitter, especially if you’re trying to quit smoking, according to the American Lung Association of Ohio. Nearly 25 percent of Americans smoke cigarettes, and while millions of them try to quit smoking every year, "successful quitting" averages two to four quit attempts.
"Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things people try to do," said Lori Kondas, vice president of Mission Services for the association. "It’s immensely difficult because you must break two strong chains – a physiologic addiction to the nicotine in cigarettes, and a behavioral habituation of simply having smoking part of your daily lifestyle."
To quit, the American Lung Association of Ohio offers two free help methods and some basic tips.
Free help is available through the American Lung Association’s Lung Health Line and through the online, self-help Freedom From Smoking program. To talk to a specially-trained smoking cessation counselor at the Lung Health Line, call 1-800-LUNG-USA and choose option "2."
To sign up for the online Freedom From Smoking program, visit www.freedomfromsmoking.org. This site also contains valuable reference materials for free download, including information on the use of nicotine replacement therapy and creating a Quit Smoking Action Plan.
Some basic tips for quitting smoking are:
•Consider joining a stop-smoking program like the the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking.
•Look into nicotine replacement and other quit-smoking products available both by prescription and over-the-counter. Talk to your physician about prescription products. These work best with smoking cessation programs.
•Pick a good time to quit. Don’t try to quit when you are under a lot of stress or around a holiday.
•Be aware that smokers have different experiences when they quit. They may feel sleepy or very excited, lightheaded, nervous or irritable. Others might crave tobacco or sweets or have headaches.
•Be sure to get some exercise every day. For example, walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting. Exercise is big boost toward feeling better, improving spirits, and keeping trim.
•Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and drink lots of water.
•Ask family, friends and co-workers to help. Having someone to take a walk with or just listen can give you a needed boost.
For more information about quitting smoking and lung health, call the American Lung Association of Ohio at 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit www.lungusa.org.