World No Tobacco Day: Five Steps for Quitting Smoking

hearthealthy_logo_programsToday is World No Tobacco Day, and now is a great time to improve your health, lower your disease risks, and enhance your performance as a firefighter or EMT by taking steps to live a tobacco-free lifestyle.

If you are a smoker or have a friend or family member who smokes, the National Volunteer Fire Council’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program provides resources specifically designed to help first responders quit and stay quit. This includes tips and resources to help you quit as long as how departments can support these efforts by establishing a no-smoking policy. Access these resources here.

Quitting smoking can be difficult, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Here are five steps to help you quit.

Five Steps for Quitting Smoking

    1. Get Ready
      • Set a quit date.
      • Change your environment.
      • Review your past attempts to quit.
      • Once you quit, do not smoke a puff.
    2. Get Support and Encouragement
      • Talk to your healthcare provider.
      • Get individual, group, or telephone counseling support. The more support you have, the better your chances are of quitting.
      • Ask family and friends to not smoke around you.
    3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors
      • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
      • Distract yourself from urges to smoke.
      • Do things that reduce your stress.
      • Plan something fun to do every day.
    4. Get Medication and Use It Correctly
      Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. However, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, currently smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking medications.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications to help you quit smoking. Ask your healthcare provider for advice, and carefully read the information on medication packages.
      • Bupropion SR – prescription only
      • Nicotine gum – available over-the-counter
      • Nicotine inhaler – prescription only
      • Nicotine nasal spray – prescription only
      • Nicotine patch – available by prescription and over-the-counter
      • Varenicline Tartrate – prescription only
    5. Be Prepared For Relapse or Difficult Situations
      Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don’t be discouraged if you start smoking again; remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. Here are some difficult situations to watch for:
      • Avoid drinking alcohol.
      • Being around a smoking environment or other smokers can make you want to smoke.
      • Many smokers will gain weight when they quit – usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Some quit-smoking medications may help delay weight gain.
      • If you experience moodiness or depression, there are ways to improve your mood other than resuming smoking.If you are having problems with any of these situations, be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider.

Sources: Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention