COUNTY PSA – Is quitting smoking on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage you to consider these 12 tried and true tips, from the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program, to help you quit for the New Year:
- Don’t let fear stop you: Every smoker knows the fear that comes the day before your quit date arrives. Suddenly you question if quitting is a good idea. You think: “Maybe I should wait until I’m not so busy and stressed?” Put It Out Rockland advises: “Don’t let fear stop you before you try.” You can get through the craving! The rewards of quitting are well worth the effort it takes to quit.
- Write down your reasons for quitting: List the reasons you want to quit and think of the benefits.
- Find a support buddy: Having others who are interested in your success is important. The help and encouragement from a supportive friend or family member can get you through the rough spots.
- Eat smart: Keep healthful, low fat, low calorie foods and sugar-free candies available. Reach for fruits and raw vegetables when you crave a cigarette.
- Drink water: Water will help flush out the chemicals and nicotine from your system, and help you through a craving. Sip cold water slowly or through a straw.
- Get your sleep: Try to get eight hours of sleep every night, and nap if you need it when you can. When you’re tired, cravings to smoke will seem stronger and you’ll have less energy to deal with them.
- Get moving: If you already have a daily physical activity routine, great, if not, choose something you enjoy doing. For example, walking is a low impact activity that is good for most people and it helps fight the urge to smoke. Go for a 15-minute walk when you’re feeling edgy; you’ll come back refreshed and relaxed. Not only will it help you minimize weight gain, physical activity creates “feel-good” hormones. (When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body).
- Praise yourself: Your determination to quit smoking is built one day at a time. Every smoke-free day makes you stronger. Take time to think about the value of what you’re doing, pat yourself on the back and say “good job!”
- Create awareness: If you’re like most smokers, you avoid looking at the damage smoking causes to yourself and those around you. Start reading about the dangers of smoking. Think about all the things you don’t like about smoking and write them down.
- Let it go: Most cravings last three to five minutes. Think of them as signs that your body is healing, then quickly replace the urge with something positive to do.
- Don’t ruin your quit attempt: Don’t start feeling sorry that you can’t smoke. Realize you are choosing not to smoke because you want to be free of this addiction. Quitting smoking is a gift you give yourself, not a sacrifice.
- Be patient: People don’t quit smoking overnight, in fact most smokers have been smoking for 20 years or more before they quit. Give yourself the gift of time and patience. You need to undo old patterns and replace them with newer, healthier choices. Each day you are smoke-free brings you closer to the lasting freedom you deserve.
“Make 2017 the year you quit smoking for good. Take back control of your health and your life. You are worth it!” said Dr. Ruppert.
Get help to successfully quit smoking: call the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program (http://bit.ly/2h3KyUl) at 845-364-2651 for one-on-one help with quitting and low-cost nicotine patches that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866- NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for help with quitting.