Butt Out! November 17 is the Great American Smokeout

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Released by Bayhealth Medical Center

The Great American Smokeout is coming up, and Bayhealth Medical Center is helping you to “butt out.” On November 17, 2011, Bayhealth, the American Cancer Society and other sponsors will encourage cigarette smokers to stop smoking for 24 hours and hopefully take the first step towards permanently kicking the nicotine habit.

The Great American Smokeout comes during Lung Cancer Awareness Month when health advocates spotlight the gamut of health issues caused by cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Lung cancer, emphysema, stroke, heart attack, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are just some of the consequences of smoking, yet people continue to put themselves at risk. Many times, cigarette smoking can be a ‘silent killer,’ as lung cancer patients don’t present with symptoms until they are in advanced, incurable stages of the disease. Education campaigns have helped Delaware reduce its smoking rate, but Delaware’s rate still mirrors the national average which is approximately 23 percent of all adults.

“They continue to smoke because it’s a chemical addiction. Triggers such as stress and depression keep them smoking, even after some of them are diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Bayhealth Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Physician Michel Samaha, M.D.

Dr. Samaha says most smokers have tried at least six or seven times to quit but most are not successful. He shares a few tips on how you can kick the habit once and for all:

Buddy up with somebody. It’s easier to quit if you have the support of somebody else who is trying to accomplish the same goal.

Try to wean yourself gradually off cigarettes. If you smoke one pack a day, discard one cigarette out from the pack on the first day, and keep going until you’re smoke free. Put the money you saved from each pack into a jar and see how fast this adds up!

Keep a pack of gum or mints handy, so you can chew whenever you have the urge to smoke. Satisfy your oral fixation with something besides nicotine!

Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement products. The patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhalers, and non-nicotine drugs like Chantix may be helpful.

Start dieting and exercising. Take the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle and you’ll naturally have less of a desire to smoke!

Try to manage your stress. Since stress is one of the biggest triggers of smoking, relieve your stress with deep breathing, meditation, relaxing music, and guided imagery (imagine yourself in a calm, stress free environment, such as a tropical beach).

You may also want to consider professional resources that may be available to help you. Bayhealth Medical Center’s Tobacco Cessation Program is a seven-week series that offers the support and guidance you need to stop using tobacco for the rest of your life through behavior modification, exercise, diet, stress reduction, and nicotine replacement therapy. The series is FREE to all Delaware residents. The program will be available at 208 W. Water Street, Dover, starting on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. To register, please call Bayhealth’s Education Department toll-free at 1-877-453-7107. For any questions specific to the program, contact Terry Towne, MSN, RN, at (302) 744-6724.