Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great American Smokeout

The Great American Smokeout is November 21st. It is a day that the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to quit the use of tobacco. Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of chronic disease and premature death. In America, nearly 1 in 5 adults (43.8 million people) smoke cigarettes, 13.2 million smoke cigars and 2.2 million smoke tobacco in pipes. Smoking can lead to cancers, heart disease and pulmonary disease.

  Here are some other facts about smoking habits.

  • Smoking is more common in men 21.6%, women 16.5%. CDC 2006 for general population. 
  •  In college population equal numbers between men and women at 20% (Lung.org) but University of Missouri (School of Medicine) found it could spike as high as 30%.
  • Almost no one starts smoking after age 25. Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99% started by age 26. Progression from occasional to daily smoking almost always occurs by age 26. 
  • The younger youth are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they’ll be addicted.
  •  Teens who smoke are not only short of breath today, they may end up as adults with lungs that will never grow to full capacity. Such damage is permanent and increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

To promote and celebrate those who have quit smoking, we asked Amber Fletcher to talk about her experience of quitting the smoking habit. Amber is a health studies undergraduate student and currently works in a family business. She started smoking when she was 14 years and smoked for 9 years. She is now 100% smoke free for three and half years. We appreciate Ms. Fletcher allowing us to interview her.

Why did you start smoking?

 Amber - I was a very insecure 14 year old who was desperate to find myself, which lead to hanging out with the wrong crowd. They all smoked, and so I did too. 

 What prompted you to stop smoking?

Amber - I was sick of it, and the control it had over my life. At 23 I started development some breathing issues every time I would lite up. It's as if I was developing some kind of smoke induced asthma. I also am extremely passionate about health education and knowing the risks made it even harder to continue. 
Ms. Fletcher quit smoking “cold turkey” and explained that the most difficult situation when quitting smoking was being around others who smoked and having cigarette after her coffee or meals. To ease the difficulty she starting working out and drinking more water. She also had a support from her family and boyfriend. 
Since she quit, Ms. Fletcher has noticed that her clothes smell fresh and clean, her teeth are white and has fresh breath and her car is smoke free. She is glad that by quitting she has reduced her risk of cancer, heart disease and lung diseases. She also was excited to share that she has saved almost $4,000 since she quit smoking. 

Ms. Fletcher has been 100% smoke free for three and a half years. Congratulations to you on kicking the habit!  

Our very own Cindy Snider quit smoking. Cindy currently serves as Administrative Assistant for the department. She too started smoking at a young age because she wanted to be like her friends. What prompted her to stop smoking was that her husband had a health scare and was told to quit smoking immediately and she joined him in the process. What was difficult for Cindy to quit smoking was the day-to-day associations she had with smoking. She gave the example that she would get into her car in the mornings and immediately would light a cigarette. Cindy was prescribed Wellbutrin by her doctor and she substituted cigarettes with Blow Pops to ease the difficulty of quitting. To quit, she chose the busiest day of her week and chose not to light up ever again. She noticed that her pocket book had a little more cash. She also noticed that her health had improved. She no longer had bronchitis and would recover from colds faster. Cindy smoked for almost 30 years and has been 100% smoke free for over 14 years. Congratulations, Cindy!

If you want to join in the Great American Smokeout festivities at Texas Woman's University there is an event by Student Health Services on Wednesday, November 13th in the Student Union from 11:30-1:00. There will be information on smoking, tobacco, and hookah and there will be kits for those who are ready to kick the habit.

Have you quit smoking? Share your tips on how you quit or things that made it easier.

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