Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
The Great American Smokeout also known as GASO has been going on nationally since 1977, and that’s all there is to it: for just one day, don’t smoke.
If you smoke, the American Cancer Society invites you to quit one more time, if only for 24 hours, during the Great American Smokeout, on November 15.
Is it really worthwhile to quit just for one day?
Edwina “Eddie” Reeves, certified tobacco treatment specialist at CHINS, says, “People who quit during the Great American Smokeout are winners because they learn that they can do without the nicotine. If they quit for one day they prove to themselves that they have the power over the nicotine.”
Twain also said, “It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep.” By following Twain’s simple rule you can easily handle one-third of the 24 hours. Only 16 hours to go! Smokers: a dying breed Smoking rates among U.S. adults hit a high of 46 percent in 1964 and have been declining steadily since then, to 21 percent today. It’s true that smokers tend to die young and drop out of the measurements, but smoking rates have declined primarily because people realize they’ve had enough and decide that they are not going to smoke any more.
GASO is one way they work up to this. New smokers get recruited all the time, mostly children. One-fifth of children are smoking by the time they graduate high school, and 90 percent of adult smokers started before age 18. GASO is not limited to adults, and a GASO event aimed at students will be held in Tularosa.
The Hassle Factor
The Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect in New Mexico on June 15. It generally prohibits smoking in indoor public places and indoor workplaces. It is intended to protect people against second-hand smoke, but it does make life more of a hassle for smokers, who now have to go outside to smoke.
For many smokers this has been the last straw and they have decided to quit. If you are fed up with the hassle of smoking, but haven’t quite decided to quit, GASO is a good chance to try being a nonsmoker for a day.
Locally, CHINS offers free tobacco cessation classes and individualized counseling, including free nicotine replacement therapy (patches and gum). CHINS has had a surge of interest in these classes since the new law went into effect. The next class starts Nov. 5 in Tularosa. Contact CHINS at 434-3011 or 491-3595.
The statewide quit line is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You get to talk to a real person who can help you. Help is available in English and in Spanish, and for youth and for adults. The quit line counselors will work with you to develop an individualized plan, and you get unlimited follow-up calls to help you through the process.
Leave the Pack Behind
Mark Twain was a tough old bird, and despite smoking almost continually from age 8, he beat the odds and lived to age 74. Not everyone has his luck. Thinking about quitting? Try going without your cigarettes for 24 hours on Nov. 15. It can be the first step to leaving the pack behind.
Source: Allen Stenger, Alamogordo Daily News
Editor’s note: This column is provided as a service of the Otero County Community Health Council and the Alamogordo Daily News as a way to provide the latest in health and wellness information, services and events. If you would like more information, contact Lee Ann Loney, OCCHC Coordinator, at 700 E. First Street, Suite 720, Alamogordo, NM, 88310, 443-8100, firstname.lastname@example.org.