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Published on November 19th, 2017 | by Deb Wolf

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For Inspiration, Focus on the Gains from Quitting Tobacco

Current prEvents    November 17, 2017      Times Argus
By Ginny Burley

A nationwide annual event held in November, the Great American Smokeout, encourages smokers to take a break from smoking and even set a quit date for giving up tobacco.

This time of year signals the start of the holiday season and so much that goes along with that — family, friends, finances and wishing everyone the best of health in the new year to come. With this in mind, consider this an opportunity to find the perfect gift for yourself, your family and friends: Quit smoking!

You know all the health risks of tobacco: lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, mouth cancer and more. And even the inconveniences like the smell, bad breath, skin, cravings and butt litter. There are Vermont laws which prohibit smoking in cars with kids present, no smoking in many parks and all playgrounds and school grounds, and even many apartments and multi-unit housing facilities.

You know that your tobacco use is dangerous for your family and loved ones. Secondhand smoke from your cigarettes is harmful to nonsmokers, and third-hand smoke absorbed in clothing, furniture, cars, and rugs is toxic as well.

Each type of tobacco has its own special set of harms — cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, hookahs, e-cigarettes, vapes, snus, chew, snuff and dip. Holding an average-sized dip in your mouth for 30 minutes gives you as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes.

The vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not water vapor but actually a toxic aerosol, even if it smells like candy or fruit. Approximately 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from illness caused by secondhand smoke. Thirty minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart damage similar to that of an everyday smoker.

You may know all of this and maybe you’re close to thinking it may be your time to give it up. And yet, quitting is hard.

So let’s reframe the issue. Instead of focusing on how hard it is and how much willpower it will take, let’s think about what you can gain. Like money! Yes, the financial cost is a big one. Wouldn’t it be great if all that money stayed in your pocket or in your bank account? Take a moment to imagine the savings and what you might do with the extra money when you are no longer buying cigarettes or tobacco products — holiday gifts, car payments, saving for a house, a new bike, college, investing.

An easy way to let you see the savings, in money and in health risks, is actually a fun online tool. Of course, it is eye-opening to see how much you can save. A “cost calculator” site allows you to fill in the blanks of how many cigarettes you smoke, the cost per pack, and come up with a dollar figure.

For instance, using the site bit.ly/quitsmoker, you find out that:

  • If you smoke a pack a day (20 cigarettes)
  • at a cost of, let’s say, $8 per pack
  • you are spending $2,920 each year
  • If you have been doing that for five years, your total is $14,600!

Think of what you could do with that much money. There are plenty of cost calculators online.

Quitting now, the pack-a-day smoker will have saved $240 before the holidays. The two-pack a-day smoker will have an extra $480 to spend or save. That’s a lot of money. That’s motivation.

There’s plenty of help for quitting and 802Quits, available statewide, is Vermont’s program for cessation support. They can help you find classes, counselors, partners, free gum, patches and lozenges (delivered to your home) — all the support you need to do this. You can learn more at 802quits.org or by calling 1-800-quit-now.

What are you waiting for? Every quit attempt counts and makes a difference. You can be all set to start 2018 in a whole new way.

Ginny Burley is a prevention specialist at Central Vermont New Directions Coalition in Montpelier. Current PrEvents is produced by the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition in collaboration with the Washington County Youth Service Bureau.

Current PrEvents is produced by the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition in collaboration with the Washington County Youth Service Bureau, as part of the Regional Prevention Partnership grant from the Vermont Department of Health.

Send feedback to currentprevents@gmail.com or 223-4949

 


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