Committing to a smoke-free you in 2005

Have you decided to finally quit smoking in the New Year? If you want to become smoke-free in 2005, you can increase your chances of success by staying upbeat and planning ahead.

“At this time of year smokers are often tempted to quit on the spur of the moment,” said Kerri McCaig, Tobacco Reduction Coordinator. “However, taking the time to do a little planning and preparation can really increase your chances of long term success.”

To help make that “quit smoking” resolution stick this New Year:

1. Know why you smoke

Aside from nicotine addiction, there are many different reasons people may smoke, such as coping with stress or socializing. Identifying when, where and why you smoke is the first step in building a plan for living your life smoke-free.

2. Identify temptation triggers

Identifying triggers in your daily routine that can tempt you to smoke is important. Common triggers include drinking coffee, driving or finishing a meal. Learning to cope could include switching from coffee to tea or immediately leaving the table and doing the dishes after a meal.

3. Consider using nicotine replacement products Using nicotine patches, gum or an inhaler can help manage withdrawal symptoms as you are trying to quit and potentially double your chances of success.

4. Develop a support system

Enlist one or more people to provide encouragement as you go through the process of quitting. A support system will help to remind you of all the reasons you have for wanting to quit so that you can get through any temptations.

5. Have a plan if you slip and have a cigarette It’s common to have a slip or two after quitting smoking. If this happens, just get back on track as soon as possible. Remind yourself that a slip is not a big deal and is no reason to give up your new smoke-free lifestyle.

“Remember to congratulate yourself on making the decision to quit smoking,”

said Dr. Lorna Medd, Medical Health Officer. “It can be difficult to follow through on, but it’s also one of the most positive health changes that you can make. In fact, early improvements in heart and lung function occur very soon after quitting.”

For more information about how to stop smoking, visit www.quitnow.ca or call the BC Smokers’ Helpline toll-free at 1-877-455-2233 (available 10:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday).

The BC NurseLine can also provide general information toll-free at 1-866-215-4700, or TTY at 1-866-889-4700 for the deaf and hearing-impaired.

Staffed by registered nurses offering health information and advice, the line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Translation services are available in 130 languages. For additional information, the BCHealthGuide OnLine and the BCHealthFiles are available at www.bchealthguide.org