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Your New Year Quit Smoking Plan

Your New Year Quit Smoking PlanIf your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, you’re in good company. It’s a popular goal and many, many people succeed. According to the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services, there are more former smokers in the United States—nearly 50 million—than current smokers. Planning ahead can help make your healthy resolution a reality. An excellent resource is Tobacco Free Florida’s 3 Ways to Quit.

While some smokers successfully quit by going cold turkey, most people do better with a plan to keep themselves on track. A good plan addresses both the short-
term challenge of quitting smoking and the long-term challenge of preventing relapse. It should also be tailored to your specific needs and smoking habits.

Whether you’re a teen smoker or a lifetime pack-a-day smoker, quitting can be tough. But the more you learn about your options and prepare for quitting, the easier the process will be. With the right game plan tailored to your needs, you can break the addiction, manage your cravings, and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good.

Find your reason(s) to quit.
To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke.  Or lower your chance of getting lung cancer, heart disease, or other conditions. Or to look and feel younger. Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.

For inspiration, look to successful quitters.
Many people find that the greatest support comes from those who have been in their shoes. Talking with someone who has successfully quit smoking can offer you personal support and tips to help with cravings to get you through the tough days.

Let others help you.
Get support from other people. There are many ways to do this. For example, tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit and that you want their support. Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help.

How does smoking hurt your health?
Knowing the facts about smoking can make you more determined to stop smoking this year.
• Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds. Hundreds are toxic, and about 70 cause cancer.
• Smoking causes immediate damage to the body.
• Tobacco use causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year. It kills more people every year than human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drugs, alcohol abuse, car crashes, suicides, and murders combined.
• For every person who dies from a tobacco-related disease, another 20 people live with a serious smoking-related illness.

People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. The younger you are when you quit, the better your chances of avoiding health problems.

Save your breath.
Most cases of the serious lung disease called COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are caused by smoking. COPD makes it harder and harder to breathe. The disease can make people too sick to work and lead to an early death. When you quit smoking, you can:
• Reduce your coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
• Reduce your risk of developing COPD
• Slow the weakening of your lungs, if you already have some damage

Protect your loved ones.
When you quit smoking, you also help protect your children, family, and friends from exposure to secondhand smoke. It can cause immediate harm to those who breathe it.

No one said quitting would be easy.
Quitting smoking can be challenging. Most people make multiple attempts. That’s because nicotine is a very addictive drug. But don’t give up trying just because you haven’t succeeded in the past.

Think about your past attempts to quit—what worked and what didn’t. If one method didn’t work, don’t hesitate to try another method. You can learn something new every time you try. This time might be time you quit for good!

Tobacco Free Florida offers 3 Ways to Quit:
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Tobacco Free Florida’s AHEC Cessation Pro-
gram – Tools to Quit and Quit Smoking Now
Both programs offer education on the health effects related to tobacco use, but more importantly, they teach the benefits of quitting and what to expect when quitting.  A Tobacco Cessation Specialist or trained facilitator guides participants as they identify triggers and withdrawal symptoms, and brainstorm ways to cope with them.

Topics include: Addiction, withdrawal and medications that help, Planning for the quit date, Dealing with triggers, Overcoming cravings, and Relapse prevention.

The Tools to Quit Program is a 2-hour seminar where participants learn how to develop a successful quit plan.

The Quit Smoking Now Program meets once a week for six weeks. Participants offer each other support as they go through the quit process.

Both programs offer free nicotine replacement therapy (when medically necessary and while supplies last), educational materials, goodies for their quit day, and follow-up support. We like to have patients referred who are ready to quit within the next 30 days.

Regardless of how you decide to quit—whether you use medicines, counseling, or simply stop smoking on your own—it’s most important to commit to quit, make a plan, and stick with it.

Contact Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center (GSAHEC) by phone (941-361-6602), though email ( or visit their website ( to learn more about their cessation services or to register for a tobacco cessation program.

Regardless of how you decide to quit—whether you use medicines, counseling, or simply stop smoking on your own—it’s most important to commit to quit, make a plan, and stick with it.



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