Your Healthcare Provider Can Help.
I f you currently smoke cigarettes, you’re not alone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that in 2018, nearly 14% of U.S. adults over the age of 18 smoked cigarettes. Here in Bed-Stuy, smoking may be even more prevalent. According to NYC Health’s 2018 Community Health Profiles, approximately 19% of Bed-Stuy adults were current smokers. That’s about 5% higher than the rates for both Brookly and NYC.
However, it’s estimated that nearly 7 out of 10 smokers want to quit, so if you’re like many people who smoke, chances are good that you’re interested in quitting, and you may well have even tried to quit during the past year. Whether you’ve tried to quit but haven’t yet succeeded or you’ve been thinking about quitting but haven’t taken the first step, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to quit smoking.
Why Quit Smoking?
You’ve likely heard it before, and we don’t want to belabor the point, but there are many benefits to quitting smoking. They generally fall into two main categories: health benefits and financial benefits.
According to the CDC, “Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, despite a significant decline in the number of people who smoke.” In addition, cigarette smoking increases your risk for developing illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Smoking can increase your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and can also increase your risk of complications if you have diabetes. Smoking also harms reproductive health, making it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant and harming her baby’s health both before and after birth. Quitting smoking significantly reduces your risk for these and many other smoking-related illnesses.
Simply put, smoking is expensive. Think about it…if you smoke a pack of 20 cigarettes each day, and you pay $13 per pack, you’ll spend $4,745 on cigarettes in a year! Think about what you could do with a windfall like that if you were to quit smoking. Want to see how much money you could save by quitting? Check out this savings calculator from Smokefree.gov. Smoking also leads to increased healthcare costs. According to the CDC, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion each year, including more than $156 billion in lost productivity.
Finding Your Reason to Quit
It’s one thing to know, intellectually, all of the good reasons to quit smoking. It’s another thing to internalize them and identify the reason or reasons why you want to quit. Does it seem like you never have enough cash on hand because it’s going towards cigarettes? Are you worried about developing a smoking-related illness in the future? Concerned that you’re harming the health of those around you, such as children or grandchildren? Want to be sure you’re around to see them grow up? Sick of smelling like smoke? Tired of feeling run-down all the time? Take some time to think about why you want to quit, then use it as motivation to reach your goal of being smoke free, even if it takes multiple tries.
Make a Plan. Your Healthcare Provider Can Help.
If you’ve read our other blog articles, you know the importance we place on planning as a way to help you achieve your healthcare goals. This is where your healthcare provider can help. She or he may be able to help you develop a plan to quit smoking or provide resources so you can develop a plan of your own. The CDC also offers useful tips on how to build a quit plan. And, if you struggle with planning, as many of us do, Smokefree.gov offers an online tool that makes it easy to develop a personalized quit plan by answering a few simple questions.
Your healthcare practitioner will also likely be able to prescribe medications to help you stop smoking. (Be sure to check with your health insurance company to see if your plan covers or helps to defray the cost of smoking cessation medications.) If needed, your provider can also refer you to a counselor for additional support along your smoking cessation journey. Many providers can also direct you to local resources and support groups or programs that can help you quit.
When you’re trying to quit smoking, it can feel like you’re doing it on your own. After all, the people around you can’t see the struggle within you as you try to quit. They don’t necessarily understand how smoking has been a part of your routine, your social circle, your day-to-day life. Quitting smoking is a journey, and your path to being smoke free is likely to be different from someone else’s. Below are some resources you may find useful as you take your first step to quitting smoking:
- www.nysmokefree.com: The NY State Smokers’ Quitline offers a phone quit line with trained smoking cessation coaches along with informational resources to help you quit and a listing of support groups and resources based on your location.
- www.SmokeFree.gov: SmokeFree.gov offers tools, tips, and information to help you through the phases of quitting with special resources for veterans, women, teens, people age 60+, and those who speak Spanish. They also offer an online tool to help you develop a personalized plan to quit smoking.
- www.cdc.gov: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s smoking cessation resources include information to help you plan how to quit, a phone quitline, a free quitSTART mobile app to help you quit smoking, and much more.
Share Your Smoking Cessation Tips
If you’ve successfully quit smoking, your testimonial or suggestion may help someone else to success on their own smoking cessation journey. Please take a moment to share your tips for quitting by commenting on this blog post.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm Retrieved 1/13/20.
- Hinterland K, Naidoo M, King L, Lewin V, Myerson G, Noumbissi B, Woodward M, Gould LH, Gwynn RC, Barbot O, Bassett MT. Community Health Profiles 2018, Brooklyn Community District 3: Bedford Stuyvesant; 2018; 27(59):1-20. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/data/2018chp-bk3.pdf. Retrieved 1/13/20.
- Babb S, Malarcher A, Schauer G, Asman K, Jamal A. Quitting Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2000–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;65:1457–1464. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6552a1
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in New York. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/about/osh/state-fact-sheets/new-york/ Retrieved 1/14/20.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Economic Costs Associated with Smoking. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/economics/econ_facts/index.htm Retrieved 1/14/20.
Note: Reference to specific commercial products, manufacturers, companies, or trademarks does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government, Department of Health and Human Services, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.