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Tobacco Dying to smoke

Pam hated to see kids smoke. “I know they think they’re being really cool, “ she said. She took her story into schools. She wanted to influence kids’ perceptions and the choices they made about smoking.

She always got lots of questions. “Most often I hear ‘Why didn’t you stop smoking when I first started getting sick?’ ‘Did you ever smoke anything else?’ I think that they want to hear that I smoked some horrible drug and that’s what really did it,” Pam says, “not the smoking.”

Pam encouraged kids to think before they picked up the smoking habit. She asked them to consider their futures. “If you smoke, you can get sick,” she said, “and all of those dreams can be lost.”

The American Cancer Society offers these tips to help you quit smoking:

Tips To Help You Quit

1. Consider using medication to help you quit. There are prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms or even help to reduce the urge to smoke.

2. Enlist support. Many states, communities, and health care organizations have free or low-cost counseling available to help you quit. Call your American Cancer Society to find out what is available in your area.

3. Get help or ask for help from your health care provider.

4. Don’t keep your intention to quit a secret. Include your friends and family in your quitting process; they can offer much needed support.

5. Clear the places where you usually smoke of anything that reminds you of cigarettes – like lighters, ashtrays, or matches. Also, ask other smokers not to smoke around you, and clean your house and car thoroughly to remove the smell of cigarettes.

6. Avoid places where smokers gather. Go to the movies, museums, or other places where smoking is not allowed.

7. Calm the nervous energy you may feel with physical and mental activities. Take long strolls and deep breaths of fresh air, and find things to keep your hands busy, like crossword puzzles or gardening.

8. When the urge to smoke strikes, do something else. Call a supportive friend. Do brief exercises such as pushups, walking up a flight of stairs, or touching your toes. Keep oral substitutes like carrots, apples, raisins, or gum handy. And never allow yourself to think that “one won’t hurt,” because it will.

When you’re ready to quit, the American Cancer Society can help. Call 1-800-ACS-2345.

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