“When trying to quit smoking, support can make all the difference.” – American Cancer Society
 
Approximately 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Every year on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation are encouraged to use the date to quit smoking.  This year, Nov. 16 is designated as this year’s The Great American Smokeout.
 
According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but support can increase the chances of success. Getting help through counseling or medications can significantly increase the chances of quitting successfully.
 
Research shows that most people try to quit smoking several times before they succeed. Don’t give up your efforts to encourage and support your loved one. Here are a few helpful hints when supporting a smoker that wants to quit:

  • Do ask the person if they want you to regularly ask how they’re doing. If they do – ask how they’re feeling, not just if they’ve quit. 

  • Do let the person know it is okay to talk to you when they need encouraging words.

  • Do help the quitter remember all the reasons they wanted to quit.

  • Do help the quitter get what they need, like hard sugar-free candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.

  • Do things with the quitter to keep their mind off tobacco - go to the movies, take a walk, or practice a relaxation technique, like deep breathing.

  • Do celebrate small or big successes along the way. Making changes with smoking behaviors and quitting smoking is a big deal!

  • Don’t judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don’t want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings. Be sure the quitter knows you care about them whether or not they smoke.

  • Don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during their nicotine withdrawal. Tell them that you understand the symptoms are real and remind them that they won’t last forever. The symptoms usually get better in about 2 weeks.

If you are or someone you know is trying to quit, the Community Health and Wellness team at Lancaster General Health has supports available:
 
Freedom from Smoking® Group Classes
If you’d like to join others who are also trying to quit, consider this FREE program, developed by the American Lung Association, which has helped thousands of smokers quit for good. You’ll be given the tools and support to develop a personalized quit plan. FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available as grant funding allows. Classes are held at various locations throughout the community. Click here to register for Freedom from Smoking.
 
One-on-one Quit Tobacco Counseling
Do you need more personalized help? FREE one-on-one consultations with a counselor are available by appointment only. The weekly 30-minute sessions (minimum of 4 sessions, average of 8 to 10 sessions) will focus on developing a personalized quit plan. FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available as grant funding allows.  Appointments are held at the Wellness Center, Lancaster General Health Suburban Pavilion, 2100 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. Click here to schedule an appointment.
 
For more information on Lancaster General Health quit tobacco programs or resources, contact Katherine Fox, at kfox2@lghealth.org

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