Use Smokeout to get head start on ban

November 15, 2007|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,Sun reporter

Come January, lighting up in a restaurant or bar in Baltimore will be banned. In February, the ban goes statewide.

With the limits, Maryland will join more than 2,200 communities and 17 states now smoke-free - covering more than half the country's population. And many local restaurants have already gone smoke-free. Airplanes are out. And other facilities, such as Howard County General Hospital, are getting in on the ban early.

So why not get a jump on things by quitting now? Today is the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout.

Easier said than done, right? About a quarter of Americans smoke because, well, quitting is hard.

Most already know smoking is linked to lung cancer and nine other cancers and accounts for almost a third of cancer deaths. Smoking damages almost all organs in the body. It costs billions of dollars annually. And, really, the breath mints just don't do it. Smokers smell bad to everyone else.

The cancer society suggests a four-step plan - make the decision to quit, set a quit date, manage withdrawal and maintain your success.

But what about just getting through the day? Here is a list of tips to help stop smoking from the cancer society and others:

Make a list of reasons to quit, from the cost to the health impacts to the time lost, and review and update it frequently.

Avoid temptation by steering clear of fellow smokers or places where people go to smoke.

Take a walk or a deep breath of fresh air instead of a smoke break while at work.

Substitute hobbies such as woodworking, needlepoint, reading or exercise while at home.

Change your overall daily routine, including how you drive to work and what you drink at your desk.

Replace cigarettes with sugarless gum, hard candy or raw vegetables.

Use nicotine alternatives such as nicotine gum or patches or ask your doctor about medications.

Tell yourself you must wait 10 minutes to light up to give yourself time for the strongest urge to pass.

Put the money you would spend in a jar and reward yourself with the savings by spending it on small treats such as a magazine or going out to eat.

Join or form a support group.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout and quitting, go to cancer.org.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

Online

Read more about the smoking ban at baltimoresun.com/smokingban

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