Not what we have, but what we use;
Not what we see, but what we choose;
These are the things that mar or bless
the sum of human happiness.
-Joseph Fort Newton
Recently, I was pleased to read that Premier Ralph Klein is planning to quit smoking. He says his grandchildren want him to give up the bad habit.
As we know, Klein is a determined man. Once he decides do something, he does it. He stopped drinking and he received praise from all over Canada. He set a good example.
Klein may be aware that tomorrow is the first day of National Non-smoking Week. And next Wednesday is Weedless Wednesday. Wouldnt it be nice, if during the next seven days, Klein goes public with a statement that he has given up smoking?
Klein is a very respected and successful politician. And I know one of these days, when he is ready, we will here the good news. And it will be a good present for his grandchildren.
Why it is so difficult for Klein and millions of others to quit smoking?
Nicotine is an addictive drug. It causes dependence and tolerance. Once you are hooked on it, it takes control of your mind and body. There is craving for more and more nicotine.
If you try to deprive your mind and body of nicotine then you get very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These are: irritability, anger, impatience, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, increased appetite, anxiety and depression.
Smoking is also habit forming. It becomes part of our routine cigarette on waking up, cigarette after a meal, cigarette with a drink, cigarette with coffee, cigarette before a bowel movement, cigarette after sex (remember Austin Power joke?), cigarette to relieve stress and so on.
Is there help for people who want to quit smoking?
Sure, there is help. The world does not come to an end the day you stop smoking. In fact, a whole new world opens up.
One can successfully quit smoking:
1. If the person is motivated.
2. If the person seeks counseling.
3. If the person goes on nicotine replacement therapy.
As a caring society, we can only create awareness and support system to help people quit smoking. But in the end, the success or the failure depends on personal motivation.
What motivates people to quit smoking?
There is fear of disability and death due to cancer or heart disease. There is desire to be healthy. There is a desire to have better old age, desire to be a role model for ones family, desire to save money and use it for healthier activities, and desire to prevent damage to the environment and ones family from second hand smoke.
What really works?
Studies have shown that self-motivation, counseling and nicotine replacement therapy achieves the highest rate of success, 40-60 percent in the initial phase and about 30 percent at the end of one year.
Nicotine replacement therapy is available in different preparations gum, skin patch, nasal spray and vapor inhaler.
We also need to create a good support system – at home, at school and in the community.
We know that smoking is harmful. But people do start smoking and continue to smoke. Most smokers start before the age of 20, out of curiosity and from peer pressure (to look cool!).
Unfortunately, 50 percent of smokers will die prematurely due to smoke related disease. They will certainly be missed by their friends and families.
But it is never too late. You can quit smoking and reverse the damage. Help is only a phone call away.
You can see your family physician. He can help. You can also contact Rita at Freedom from Smoking (phone: 502-8224). She has plenty of tricks to share with you. But first, you should have the motivation and desire to quit smoking! Then make the phone call.
National non-smoking Week (January 18-24) is a good week to call. Good luck!
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