The American Cancer Society is marking the 38th Great American Smokeout today by encouraging smokers to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and quit smoking that day. It’s also a good opportunity to learn more about taking steps that can lead to healthier lives and reduced risk of cancer.
Last year, I introduced you to my colleague, Sandy, who was two months into her tobacco-free journey. I hadn’t talked to her in a while, and thought I would reach out to her to see how she was doing with her quest. I was nervous as I sent the email, knowing I may not get the answer I was hoping for. Within minutes she responded with the news I wanted to hear: She was still tobacco free!
A self-proclaimed stress smoker, Sandy now copes with her stress by, “chewing gum until my jaw hurts and by reading scripture; my faith continues to get stronger and stronger,” the petite grandmother of nine said.
Since Sept. 5, 2012, she’s “slipped” twice, and both instances were triggered by stressful circumstances.
“I thought I needed just one cigarette, so, I bought a pack, and when I started smoking I was only able to finish half of it. For a split second I felt like the cigarette was going to make things better, then the nausea set in followed by remorse,” she said, “and I threw them out.”
Sandy was so upset with herself she contacted her smoking cessation counselor who reminded her:
- Becoming smoke-free is a process and cannot be done overnight.
- You need to take it one day at a time and learn from your mistakes.
- Don’t blame or punish yourself. This is about your health, not a moral issue.
- Make sure you have a good plan, lots of support from friends and family and the best tools for you.
After that conversation, “I was able to pick myself up and start all over again,” she said.
“Overall, I can’t believe how much better I feel! It amazes me,“ the 30-year smoker said. “Now when I smell smoke it hits me hard, and makes me dizzy.”
“The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to quit is to keep focused, and if you slip, it’s ok, you need to keep trying until you succeed,” she said.
What do you plan to do Nov. 21? If you’re a non-smoker, why not support a friend or family member in their quest to quit? If you are a smoker, you have three choices: Ignore it, quit for the day or quit completely.
You know what Sandy would recommend. Congratulations, Sandy, for being tobacco free for 14 months! Keep up the great work!
For more information about the Great American Smokeout, or for tips and tools to quit for good, click here.