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Help for Wisconsinites Who Want To Kick The Habit in 2011

January 5, 2011

MADISON, Wis. - The first week of the New Year is often "make it or break it" time for keeping many of those New Year's resolutions. At the top of the list for many Wisconsinites is to quit smoking.

In addition to the obvious health benefits, the American Lung Association in Wisconsin says at today's prices, a pack-a-day smoker can save $2,000 a year. But even with that financial incentive, quitting is no easy task, says Lee Gilman, senior vice president for health promotion and public policy for the American Lung Association (ALA). On average, it will take seven or eight tries, so Gilman says it's important to have a plan.

"Understand that even with the best of intentions, sometimes we fall down and backslide and that's perfectly normal; it's just important not to give up, and to try again."

Gilman says it's important to know that quitters don't have to go it alone - the ALA has tips on its website (www.lungusa.org) to make it easier to devise and stick to a plan. Steps include contacting a doctor to discuss smoking cessation aids; taking care of yourself with exercise, diet and rest; reaching out to family and friends for support; and doing some homework to find out about groups and online tools to help in the quitting effort.

According to Gilman, no matter how long a person has smoked or how many times they've tried to quit, it is never too late.

"Your body does recover. I mean, it takes time and it's not an absolute – but the human body is quite amazing, in that it can recover, and you can stabilize and have a better quality of life, in terms of your breathing and your energy levels."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI