Take a breather from smoking

November 21, 1991|By Kim Traverso

Millions of smokers across the country will leave the pack behind and participate in today's 15th annual Great American Smokeout. On the third Thursday of November each year, the American Cancer Society encourages cigarette smokers, as well as smokeless tobacco users, to give up the habit for 24 hours.

"One out of four people in Baltimore City smokes," says Sandy Esslinger, director of public education for the American Cancer Society in the Baltimore area. "Our goal is to reach at least 20 percent of the smoking population."

If you'd like to try to "ban the butt" for a day, here are some quick-quit tips:

* Get rid of all astrays, matches and lighters in your home, office and car.

* Eat several small meals; avoid sugary or spicy foods that trigger a desire for cigarettes.

* Drink lots of liquids but pass up drinks with caffeine and alcohol.

* Keep your hands busy. Write a letter, work on the car, or do a crossword puzzle.

* When the urge to smoke hits, take a deep breath, hold it for a second, and release it slowly.

* Reward yourself. Go out to dinner (sit in the non-smoking section) or see a movie.

Smokers can trade cigarettes for gum and snacks at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. For more information call (410) 828-2133.

If you'd like to know more about the Great American Smokeout, call the Maryland chapter of the American Cancer Society at (410) 931-6850, or (800) ACS-2345.

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