Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

November 20, 2013

Plot a plan for quitting

OK, so maybe today isn’t the perfect day to quit smoking. For years, the experts were preaching that any day was a good day to quit, and they had annual campaigns encouraging people to give up the habit.

The campaigns raised awareness, and they led many smokers away from tobacco.

Now, though, the experts are beginning to recognize that to be successful in quitting, many smokers need to do some planning. Most of us can’t just toss away that pack of cigarettes, never to light up again.

Thursday is the annual Great American Smokeout — a great day, at the very least, to make plans to quit. The American Cancer Society says smokers who prepare to quit by lining up nicotine replacement therapy and planning how they will deal with cravings greatly increase their likelihood of success.

Check out the cancer society’s website for downloadable desktop helpers such as the quit clock, which allows users to pick a quit day within 30 days then counts down to the selected day with tips for each day, and the craving stopper, which helps smokers beat cravings through a fun distraction.

And if you’re a regular at Mulligan’s Sports Pub on Home Avenue, kicking the habit might be a little easier. Mulligan’s is going smoke-free, and supporters of smoking-cessation advocates Breathe Easy Howard County will help the bar celebrate its new status from 5-9 p.m. Thursday.

So what are you waiting for?

Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps anyone can take toward better health. That decision alone can lead to a lower cancer risk and a longer life.

Smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of life expectancy. Those who quit at 55 gain about five years, and even long-term smokers who quit at 65 gain three years.

If you haven’t already plotted out your strategy to quit, today would be a great day to start.

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