Evy Smith, MA LCMHC, CTTS-M, is an EFAP Counselor & Tobacco Treatment Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Evy Smith, MA LCMHC, CTTS-M, is an EFAP Counselor & Tobacco Treatment Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

It is that time of year again when we celebrate T-day…Time to give Thanks for a Tobacco Cessation opportunity by joining in the spirit of the Great American Smoke Out, which takes place today. This day is a reminder or an opportunity to refrain from tobacco use for a day or quit for life.

You already know the health benefits of quitting. Think of it this way, smoking a pack per day puts more than 7-10 parts per million of carbon monoxide into your blood stream and that is considered the danger zone. After just 8 hours of not smoking at all, there is an immediate decrease of carbon monoxide in your blood. If a carbon monoxide detector activated in the room you were in, you would leave that room quickly. So, quitting makes sense on this point alone.

When you live tobacco-free, you will have more time, energy and money to accomplish other things in your life. Everyone seeks more of these aspects of life, and you can pursue these quite readily by making a new decision for you. Plan for the Great American Smoke Out and aim to refrain or quit.

To get the help you need, consider contacting 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and visit www.802quits.org or, if you are an employee of the University of Vermont Medical Center, call (802) 847-6541 or email wellness@vtmednet.org

TEN TIPS to Stay Tobacco Free:

  1. Leave cigarettes at home and then leave cigarettes at the store. At $10 a pack, if you repeat this daily, you will have a savings of $3,650.00 at the end of the year!
  2. Use nicotine replacement patches, gum, or lozenges to help ease the cravings.
  3. Keep oral substitutes handy: carrot sticks, raisins, pretzels, or flavored toothpicks.
  4. Drink more water! Avoid caffeine (coffee, soda, alcohol) and other drinks you associate with smoking, at least for the beginning stages of quitting.
  5. Breathe deeply, slowly and rhythmically.
  6. Do something to distract yourself when cravings hit. Talk to someone, or get busy with a task. Cravings fade fast!
  7. Take a quick walking break instead of a smoking break. Fresh air helps.
  8. Talk to a non-smoking support person!
  9. Be strong. Never allow yourself to think that “one won’t hurt,” because it will.
  10. If you QUIT and find yourself making a bee-line to the store for a pack of cigarettes, go to that store and buy a box of low dose patches, gum, or lozenges. The secret is: USE clean nicotine as your DEFAULT from this point forward and you will be tobacco-free for life!

Evy Smith, MA LCMHC, CTTS-M, is an EFAP Counselor & Tobacco Treatment Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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