Tag Archives: great american smokeout

Kick Butts Day(s) the Young People’s Great American Smoke Out

Quitting smoking is hard.

And the more help and support that we can give smokers to help them quit, the better off we all – men, women, children, dogs, cats, etc. will be.

March 24th was the 15th Annual Kick Butts day celebrated across the country.

Kids and young adults across the country will stand up to ask legislators to protect them from the tobacco industry. Protect them? The tobacco industry is not pulling teens and young adults out of their beds, homes or schools and telling them that they must smoke cigarettes or else.

Kick Butts Day – Are They Sending the Wrong Message?

toxic cigsThe way this Kick Butts Day is designed is open for discussion, because the creators of the day are pointing fingers at the legislators, the tobacco industry and everyone else except those that are currently smoking. Why should just legislators and the tobacco industry get all the blame? Yes, advertising campaigns that target youth is an indirect way to entice young adults to start smoking, but they didn’t force them …did they? Why are the creators of this day not also taking responsibility?

What if the Kick Butts Day focused more on getting teens and young adults to quit if they have started smoking and their friends rallying in support of them quitting. The day could commemorate the commitment to quitting, like a commitment to sobriety. The Kick Butts Day could be rallying around those that we know smoke and asking them to commit to quitting while also pointing them to support systems to help them.

What if we also celebrated those who have quit! Honoring them for taking responsibility for their life, health, and the impact smoking has on their loved ones. We could also remember  those we have lost to cigarette smoking.

Putting a Positive Spin on a Positive Effort

We have rehabs for alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, perhaps we need more rehab centers offering innovative approaches to smoking cessation. And we don’t need rehab centers because if we can rally to vote, rally to fight for healthcare, then we can rally to help teens and young people quit on the Kick Butts Day.

So let’s take a step to help smokers stop. An educational and positive spin on this day could implemented, instead of just name calling, or what some might label as cry baby blaming and finger pointing at legislators and the tobacco industry. The Kick Butt Day creators could make this a day of positive action rather than a day of focusing on negative reaction.

A Different Approach

Let’s think about this a moment.

Kick Butts Day could be a rally cry one day each month of the year. One day a month could be a way to check in and hold accountable those who have made the commitment to quit smoking.

One day a month and if that is too much then one day every three months those that have committed to smoking will be obligated to answer to their peers, parents, friends, etc. as to what they are doing and if in fact they have quit.

Diaries should be kept on a daily basis so that the potential quitters are mindful of what they have promised to do and make note of the bad habits that keep them from fulfilling their commitment to quit smoking.

This would certainly be a morale booster for those who have quit and an example to peers and those who want to kick but have been afraid to try.

Kick Butts Day could create a movement to eradicate the need to smoke if we focus inwards instead of outwards.

notable references:

Georgia Kids ‘Kick Butts’ on March 24 – CNBC

On March 26 at Manteo High School in Manteo, students will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to determine if the tobacco-free campus policy is successful. …

STUDENTS at Joseph Priestley College tackled the effects of smoking in association with National No Smoking Day last week.

May 31 Celebrate World No Tobacco Day

In 1987 World No Tobacco Day was created by WHO, the World Health Organization.

With a focus on the negative health effects of tobacco smoking, the aim of May 31st is to reduce tobacco deaths each year.

Right now that number stands at about five million yearly. That number is expected to double within the next ten years which is pretty scary.

On this date WHO provides awards to individuals and organizations who have supported the cause of reducing tobacco use in exceptional ways.

We are looking forward to see to whom this year’s awards are given for their outstanding work to bring greater awareness to the world.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising

Just last year, WHO moved to lobby for a ban on tobacco advertising because of the obvious link between ads aimed to get young people to start smoking and ads that attempt to make smoking look attractive, appealing, or whatever motivator they can conjure up to market the poisons they package.

The Great American Smokeout is another world event, which is recognized the Third Thursday in November. Just in time for the holiday season. This is a gift that can keep on giving for it can save a life if a smoker stops in time.

This Years World No Tobacco Day Theme – Tobacco Health Warnings

pic-crushing-ciggysThis year the celebration is centered around warning people around the globe about the dangers of tobacco and cigarette use.

Attention is drawn to the practices that big tobacco companies partake to keep the smoking epidemic growing each year even though every year thousands of lives are lost due to the dangerous effects of smoking.

Some deaths are also due to second hand smoke, and links have been made to smoking during pregnancy and the negative effects it has on the fetus and baby.

Pass the Word – No Smoking!

On May 31st, take the lead and tell everyone you know to pass the word. One voice at a time may make the difference in someone’s life.

Watch this short video to see what the effects in just one year from the accumulation of tar in cigarettes.

 

Hypnotherapy Makes Quitting Smoking Possible

The Great American Smokeout is scheduled for the third Thursday in November, which motivates me to share thoughts and observations about smoking cessation.

Over the years, I have helped many people to quit smoking using hypnotherapy as a valuable tool.

By the same token, there are people who would not quit, no matter what, the incorrigible or people who think they are so powerless.

After all, many medical professionals and the Surgeon General have blasted away that nicotine addiction is harder to overcome than heroin or cocaine. This probably reinforces what some people want to hear: “I would quit, but it is too hard.”

I will quote observations from medical people and then will share my personal observations with you.

Dr. Raul Rodriguez of Rivercrest Hospital, a psychiatrist and addictionologist, shared that nicotine addiction is a function of how many years spent smoking and the mental attitude of the person.

When asked whether or not smokers wanting to quit had to be admitted for detox, he denied the need, because nicotine addiction was not as severe, but he likes the patch, an anti-depressant or gum to help with the process of smoking cessation.

My esteemed colleague of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, Dr. Dabney Ewin, a clinical professor of psychiatry and surgery at Tulane Medical School and Louisiana State University Medical School, shared his viewpoints with me: “The word addiction has lost its meaning in the scientific community and it no longer refers to a bodily need for a particular chemical because it indiscriminately describes strong emotional desires such as addicted to chocolate, sports, computers, foreign oil.

“People who think of themselves as addicts have adopted a fixed idea that they are helpless to overcome the problem. Another of their fixed ideas is that smoking had/has social value as in being cool. Removing this fixed idea causes anxiety, because people believe they are violating this fixed idea. An interesting study of 12,000 smokers by Tindle (et al 2006) noted that people who smoke low nicotine cigarettes are more than 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoke regular cigarettes. That finding is incompatible with chemical addiction”

Ewin states, though, that next to adrenalin, nicotine is the strongest known stimulant drug, which leads me to my own personal observation as a mental health clinician.

My patients tell me that smoking relaxes them. Not so. What does relax them is the act of taking time out, – leaving the work setting temporarily for a smoke outside and socializing with fellow employees, sitting in the backyard watching the deer go by, enjoying a comfortable chair and watch TV. This is relaxing.

Unfortunately, these relaxing acts are paired with a cigarette and the cigarette gets the credit for relaxation.

I believe smoking is a strong psychological habit because people do it under mostly the same circumstances such as during their morning rituals, their morning cup of coffee, reading the paper, getting in the car, coming home from work to “relax,” when having to make an unpleasant phone call and other scenarios, where a “friend” is needed.

Often people do not even realize they are smoking. They light up on autopilot, often leaving the cigarette to burn itself out. Smokers can spend hours on an airplane without chemical dependency consequences. They may be cranky because they do not like to be told what they can or cannot do.

Change is difficult because smokers are afraid to quit, afraid that they may be miserable, hard to live with. Alcoholics increase dosage for the same effect, while smokers can cut down. If nicotine were to be so addictive, one would conclude that the patch, prescription medication and gum would work to help people quit smoking.

Many people came to see me because the above did not work for them and they confessed that they still smoked while on the patch leading to dangerous nicotine overload. I am sure it can help some people to quit, but my opinion is that people swallow something, stick on something or chew something, sit back and wait for something to happen in a passive manner.

I believe, and my past experience has shown, that this habit needs to be treated cognitively (the way people think about smoking), behaviorally (what people do) and emotionally (how people cope with their feelings of stress, anxiety, etc.)

Even so called incorrigible smokers with a three-pack-per-day habit have successfully quit with psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. People I have seen years ago, call and tell me so.

Not everyone quit successfully and they are not going to do that. Case in point the patient who had his voice box removed or the lung cancer patient, still smoking.

Stop Smoking Sign Therefore, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot quit. If it takes medication to make it easier for you to succeed along with proper therapy, this is your rightful choice. You will save money, be healthier, live longer and feel so proud of yourselves.

Evi Shaw is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in solo private practice. Evishaw@verizon.net.  San Angelo Standard Times.

It’s a Drag: Is it Time to Quit? – Take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

When you’re a smoker, especially in California, which boasts the second-lowest number of adult smokers in the country next to Utah, very few sweet voices greet you throughout your day.

Most people just want to get away from you.

There’s no smoking indoors in public places or outside in parks or playgrounds.

In some cities, like in Oakland, you can’t smoke in ATM lines or at bus stops. And in Belmont, smokers soon will not be allowed to smoke inside their own apartment or condominium.

So maybe there’s no time like the present to quit.

Stubbing That CiggyAnd if you do try, as thousands of Americans will Nov. 15 during the Great American Smokeout, you will hear one friendly voice on the other end of the line at 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887), the California Smokers’ Helpline.

If you’re lucky, you might reach Loraine, a former smoker whose mission is to help others quit. She sweetly asks her clients the tough questions, like how many cigarettes they smoke per day and how smoking makes them feel.

She then walks them through the ways in which they can break the habit, either cold turkey or by using nonsmoking aids.

“We want you to be as comfortable as possible when you do this,” she says, as she coaches a client into a nonsmoking plan. At the end of a 30-minute conversation, Loraine sends her client a certificate and promises to call on the quit date. A week or two after the quit date, Loraine will call again.

There is no magic bullet to quit smoking, no miracle cure that will take away cravings or erase smoking behavior, no matter what new drug comes out. “As Yoda would say, the magic bullet resides within you,” says Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Despite an occasional “Star Wars” quote, Schroeder minces no words when he talks about the grasp the habit has on smokers.

“Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or crack cocaine,” he says. The good news is, the number of smokers in the United States is decreasing. For the first time, there are more former smokers than current smokers out there. Just 12 percent of California adults smoke, compared to about 20 percent of the American population as a whole.

Schroeder has been working with smokers for about 15 years and writes papers on the subject of quitting. He says first, smokers need to want to quit. They then need to find the right time to do it and set a quit date. Next, smokers need to bolster the reasons why they want to quit and figure out the temptation triggers and try to erase them.

Then, he says, smokers should decide which cessation aids are right for them.

There are a variety of such products on the market, from over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids such as nicotine gum and the nicotine skin patch to prescription NRTs and non-nicotine prescription medications such as bupropion and the newer medication, Chantix. (which comes with some pretty severe side effects.)

The bad news is, none of these aids is 100 percent effective. In fact, none is 50 percent effective. Drug company Pfizer’s own studies on Chantix say it’s 44 percent successful, the highest of all. “We think it is the best drug so far,” says Dr. Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who wrote a paper on the subject titled “Interventions to Facilitate Smoking Cessation” and studies multi-ethnic populations and their smoking habits.

Other drugs, including nicotine gum and the patch, have success rates of about 20 percent. About 2.5 to 5 percent of smokers are successful at quitting without any aids.

Drugs act differently on people of different races, depending on the type of cigarette used, such as mentholated versus non-mentholated, Okuyemi says, so it is not easy to predict what will work on whom.

It takes a combination of products and counseling to really help people quit, says Dr. Jodi Prochaska, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

While alternative therapies are sometimes touted as a cure to help people quit, Prochaska says there is no good evidence that acupuncture helps smokers quit. There is some evidence that stop smoking hypnosis can be helpful.

Kaiser Permanente of Northern California’s patients smoke at a rate of about 9 percent, compared to 12 percent of the general California population. This is due, in part, to the nonprofit health care provider’s proactive stance, says Jeanne Reisman, chief of health education for Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center and anti-tobacco champion.

Kaiser physicians identify smokers during visits and encourage them to quit. The company offers smoking cessation classes to its patients and offers discounts on stop-smoking aids. “There are a lot of messages that smokers receive about being asked whether they smoke and about being advised to quit,” Reisman says.

Say you’ve tried to quit smoking before, and it just hasn’t stuck. Reisman and other experts we interviewed say most people fail the first time, but the likelihood of being successful gets higher after several tries.

Quitting smoking, they say, is the best single thing anyone can do for his or her health. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and can harm others who are exposed to the smoke.

The first step is up to you.

Reach Laura Casey at 925-952-2697 or lcasey@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Source: Laura Casey, Contra Costa Times

Pack it in with the Great American Smokeout

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.

ribbon.jpgLocally, 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, oteromch@netmdc.com.