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Resolve for better health in 2014

1/16/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

By Barry Gottschalk and Dr. Barry Malinowski

Right now is the best time to quit smoking. Get 2014 off to the best start by stopping smoking. It is the gift of better health that you give yourself.

The American Lung Association in Ohio and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have joined together on “Quitter in You,” a program to support all smokers in their efforts to quit smoking. It’s important for smokers to understand that past attempts at quitting are not failures, but normal and necessary steps to quitting for good. Now is a great time to try again, and the American Lung Association is standing by ready to help.

Quitting smoking is a popular New Year’s resolution, but we know it’s hard to keep. Quitters need to make a plan and set a date. They also need support and love from family and friends. Health care providers, trained cessation counselors and peers who are going through the quitting process are also important. Through the Quitter in You campaign, you can call or chat with friendly and supportive cessation counselors or join the Freedom From Smoking® Online program.

In addition to quitting, there are three other resolutions that will not only help support stopping smoking but will improve you and your family’s health.

  1. Make your home smokefree. Secondhand smoke is lethal. Do not smoke in your home and do not permit anyone else to smoke inside either.
  2. Eat healthier. Fruits and vegetables are great healthy snacks. Grab an apple or a carrot instead of a cigarette.
  3. Increase your physical activity and exercise. Hitting the gym, going for a walk or riding your bike instead of taking a smoking break is a win-win.

Surgeon General Luther Terry issued the first Report on Smoking and Health Jan. 11, 1964. Smoking prevalence among U.S. adults has been reduced by half thanks largely to a comprehensive approach that has included tobacco education and cessation programs, new medicines to help smokers quit and advocacy to increase cigarette taxes and promote smoke-free public places. Despite this, nearly one in five Americans still smokes. More can and must be done to help all smokers end their addiction.

The American Lung Association in Ohio and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield firmly believe that every smoker can quit. Because every person is different, each smoker must find the right combination of techniques to help them quit. By looking back at previous times they’ve tried to quit, smokers can figure out what helped them stay away from cigarettes and what they might want to do differently next time. If they keep trying and stay motivated, all smokers will be able to end their addiction and begin a new, healthier stage in their life.

Making New Year’s resolutions for better health is easy; keeping them is hard work. That’s why quitterinyou.org is great support, with a wealth of resources that include individual counseling, online programs, group classes and written materials. Additional support is available from the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® Lung Helpline (800-LUNG-USA), Freedom From Smoking® Online (www.FFSonline.org) and Freedom From Smoking® in-person clinics.

Resolve to find the “Quitter in You” and make 2014 the year for better health.

Barry Gottschalk is CEO of the American Lung Association, Midland States, and Dr. Barry Malinowski is vice president and medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

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