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The New Year: A Great Time to Quit Smoking

January 3, 2012

BROOKFIELD, Wis. - With the dawn of the New Year we get a chance to start fresh in a lot of things. A New Year's resolution to quit smoking could add years to your life and the lives of those around you, says Keri Schneider, manager of the American Lung Association Tobacco Control Program in Wisconsin. It's also the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health, she adds.

"This is a great time of year to quit, and we want everybody to know that the American Lung Association supports you in your quit attempt, so please give us a call. We want to be there to help."

The statewide toll-free Lung Helpline number, 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872), offers free counseling from trained smoking-cessation counselors. Schneider says having such support is critical when you make the decision to quit.

"Support is huge. Asking family, friends and co-workers to help and support you through this process is big, and so are the different resources available to you in your community, like the American Lung Association Helpline. Our online program can provide that support piece, as well."

The American Lung Association online Freedom From Smoking program is at www.ffsonline.org.

In addition to improving your own health and the health of those around you, there are plenty of other reasons to quit, she says. Quitting will save a smoker a lot of money, and save the irritation of having to go outside in the cold to smoke at work.

If you've tried to quit before and it hasn't worked, don't be discouraged, Schneider adds.

"For the majority of smokers out there, it does take multiple quit attempts to be successful."

In addition to making a plan and lining up a support system, Schneider suggests that those trying to quit get plenty of exercise to reduce the stress of quitting, eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.

American Lung Association research shows that people who develop a support system and use programs like Freedom from Smoking Online and the Helpline have greater success in quitting for good, compared to those who try to quit "cold turkey."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI