Time to quit smoking?

Hand crushing cigarette pack

Are you ready to quit smoking? If giving up tobacco is one of your goals, Joanne Ebner, cancer prevention program supervisor at the AAMC Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute, says the first step to success is reflecting on how smoking affects you personally.

“I tell people to examine their own habit and dependence,” she says. “What purpose is smoking serving, and what is it getting in the way of? Is it stopping you from doing a certain activity? Getting in the way of your relationships? Disrupting your finances?”

Joanne adds that choosing how you quit is also a personal decision. “Finding out what works for you is important. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work—keep trying.”

If quitting seems overwhelming, Joanne adds that you can work toward quitting by making changes to your habit slowly until you’re ready to quit for good. This can include cutting out one cigarette a week or taking one less smoke break at work.

Want to quit for good? We can help.

Our “Become Tobacco Free” classes are six-week sessions in a group therapy setting. The class covers issues related to quitting smoking, from preparing to quit to preventing relapse and living tobacco-free. And, for those who are still on the fence about quitting or hesitant to join a six-week class, we offer one-hour “Quitting Tobacco 101” meetings.

“We discuss things like what is available to help people quit, various strategies they might consider to help them in their effort to quit, and if they’ve relapsed, how to get back on track…it’s a softer approach to getting people more engaged on taking that next step,” Joanne says. There is also individual counseling for those who prefer one-on-one settings or can’t attend the classes. Programs for teenagers who want to quit smoking are also available.

For more information on our classes, visit AAMCEvents.org.

It’s normal for those trying to quit smoking to experience setbacks. Joanne says to have a back-up way to relieve stress and find methods of motivating yourself if this happens.

“Sometimes it helps to start an exercise program, something as simple as walking, because exercise helps with stress and weight management,” she says. “Others are motivated by tracking their progress.”

Joanne says motivation can also come from rewarding yourself after you meet certain goals. Focus on the benefits you’re feeling right away, whether that is breathing better, lower blood pressure or saving money.

For some people, family and friends can be a source of support and motivation. “Everyone is different. Some people want daily support and recognition and others don’t want anyone to say anything. Tell your family and friends how they can support you,” Joanne says.

 If you, a family member or friend smokes or has smoked, a lung screening may be necessary. Learn your risk for lung cancer with our free lung health profiler at askAAMC.org/Breathe
 A variety of smoking cessation resources are available at AAMC, including counseling, classes and meetings. Visit askAAMC.org/QuitSmoking or call 443-481-5366 for more information.
Contributor

Joanne Ebner is a cancer prevention program supervisor at the AAMC Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute

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