Explore 5 smart moves to quit smoking

If you’re a smoker, quitting is the single most important step you can take to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

Smoking causes immediate damage to your body and it threatens your future with increased risks for cancer, heart attack, lung disease and early death. Many people have probably urged you to quit smoking already, but we all know that quitting can be hard.

That’s where the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout can help. This event takes place Nov. 19 and encourages smokers to quit or to use the day to make a quit plan. Free help is available at 1-800-784-8669.

When you quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout, you have the support of many other people across the nation. And you’re taking an important step toward a healthier life.

Quitting smoking can be hard, so a good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal. Five steps can help.

1. Set a quit date. Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next two weeks.

2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support. A daily email, text message or phone call can help you stay on course and provide moral support. Plan a smoke-free lunch date or game night to distract yourself or gather your family in the kitchen to cook a special meal together.

3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to smoke is short — usually only 3 to 5 minutes. Surprised? Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to cope. Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Healthy choices include drinking water, taking a walk or climbing the stairs, listening to a favorite song or playing a game and calling or texting a friend 4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car and workplace. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays. Clean and freshen your car, home and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.

5. Talk to your pharmacist, doctor or quit-line coach about quit options. Health professionals should ask all adults, including pregnant women, whether they smoke, advise them to quit if they do, and provide information to help them quit. For free assistance and a customized quit plan, call the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW. The Quit Line provides free one-on-one phone counseling and information, local cessation program referrals and starter packs of quit smoking medications like nicotine gum, patches and lozenges. Learn more about how the Quitline at 1-880-784-8669. Quitting tobacco use is one of the best things you can do for your health!

Article from the Centers for Disease Control. Find more information at www.cdc.gov/features/Great AmericanSmokeout/.