On this week’s episode of my television show ‘Living Well‘, we discussed smoking and more importantly resources to help quit smoking.
My first guest was Registered Respiratory Therapist Joelle Dynes. She shared some pretty eye-opening statistics and information related to smoking and your health. She also gave some great resources to help you quit.
Here is a recap of what you missed during my interview with Joelle:
It’s probably fair to say that everyone knows in this modern society that smoking is not good for your health.
Think about it this way:
“Tobacco is the only product in the world that kills half of the people who use it exactly as directed”
Respiratory diseases are the 3rd leading cause of death in Canada. Cancers are the 2nd leading cause of death in Canada and of all the cancers, lung cancer leads in rates of death. Smoking is the single more preventable cause of COPD
Signs and Symptoms of lung damage from smoking
-Shortness of Breath on Exertion (SOBOE)
-repeated chest infections
There is no safe amount of tobacco. Light cigarettes are equally as dangerous as regular cigarettes. “Light” refers to taste, not amount of tar or nicotine. Read that again. This is something that I found surprising so it’s worth repeating…
Light cigarettes are equally as dangerous as regular cigarettes. “Light” refers to taste not amount of tar or nicotine.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you smoke ‘Light cigarettes that you are someone healthier than those that smoke ‘Regular’ cigarettes.
There are more deaths each year in Canada from tobacco than AIDS, car accidents, suicide, murder, fires and accidental poisonings combined
Some of the barriers to quitting smoking include
-poor access to resources such as online information or help lines
-high cost of medications (not covered in Ontario)
-lack of social support systems
-nicotine withdrawal symptoms
After hearing all of these sobering statistics you may say: “I’ve been smoking all my life. Why quit now?
By stopping smoking, you decrease the risk of cancer, lung and chest diseases.
Benefits of Quitting:
Your health will start benefitting almost immediately when you quit.
8 hrs – Carbon monoxide levels drop and oxygen levels increase
48 hrs – chance of a heart attack starts to decrease. Sense of smell and taste improves
72 hrs – lung capacity starts to increase
2 weeks to 3 months – circulation improves, lung function improves by as much as 30%
1 yr – Risk of dying from a heart attack drops by half
10 yrs – risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
15 yrs – risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who never smoked.
During the second segment of the show, I interviewed Tobacco Enforcement Officer Adam Richards and Health Promotor and Smoking Cessation Educator Jessica Lang. Here’s a review of the great information from that interview:
Q: I already know how bad smoking is for my health. I’ve tried to quit many times before and have failed every time. What is the best way to quit?
A: Quitting smoking is the number one thing you can do for your health!
It is a process not an event.
For the average person, it takes 5 or 6 attempts before they quit for good. So don’t quit trying!
It is important to understand why you smoke in the first place (i.e. what is it you like about smoking, what does it do for you) and then prepare to quit. Having intrinsic motivation to quit is absolutely necessary!
Smoking is a complex behavior and therefore requires a complex solution.
You need to address the physiological, social and environmental aspects of it in order to quit for good. There is no magic pill.
There are medications that can help some people quit, but you still need to incorporate changes to your lifestyle and daily routine in order to maximize your potential. You have it in you!
Q: Are there aids that I can use when I try to quit? What about medication options for quitting?
A: An aid that is helpful for many as they quit is nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum, lozenge, or inhaler) and is proven to double your chances of quitting when combined with motivation and readiness to quit.
If more conservative attempts fail there are medications that work in the brain to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also decreases the pleasurable effects of smoking so that smoking becomes less rewarding. While highly effective for some, this is an option that may not be as effective for all and can be relatively expensive ($200+ a month).
Q: Everyone I know who has tried to quit smoking has slipped/relapsed. How can I prevent myself from relapsing?
A: Relapse is very common and should be viewed as a learning opportunity, not a failure.
What was the trigger for the relapse? Stress is one of the most common predictors of relapse, so planning ahead for what you will do when a stressful moment hits is very important.
Know what your alternative coping strategies will be. For example: exercise to burn off some steam, put your energy into cleaning up the house, do some yard work, talk to a supportive friend or family member, take a relaxing hot bath. These are all examples of alternative coping mechanisms.
Remember the 4 D’s: Distract yourself, Delay until the craving passes, Drink water and Deep breathe.
Q: How does the Smoke Free Ontario Act affect where people smoke?
A: Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places and workplaces in Ontario including workplace vehicles. Enclosed is defined as the inside of any structure which has a roof.
People are protected from second-hand smoke at all public places where they work, eat, socialize, shop or recreate.
Q: What steps does the Smoke Free Ontario Act take to discourage and protect youth from smoking?
A: Firstly, it is illegal for anyone to sell or supply tobacco to a person who is under 19 years old. This includes providing tobacco to friends and family outside of retail stores, whether or not they are charged.
Smoking is also prohibited on school property inside and out. So no person regardless of age or position can smoke on school property. Smoking is also prohibited in vehicles while children and/or youth under age 16 are present.
All of my guests then offered some resources where you can go for more information and help with quitting. These resources are definitely more relevant for my Canadian readers. If you are in the US or another country, you will find amazing local resources just by googling: Quit smoking
Along with these resources remember to surround yourself with a good support system:
Find a friend or a family member or a mentor or a health professional that can support you as you make changes to be healthier by quitting smoking. You will have people to hold you accountable to your quitting goal as well as to support you if you slip or stumble.
Studies show that if there is one key person in your life who will really support you as you change your habits, you are much more likely to succeed.
The Lung Association www.on.lung.ca
Smoke Free Ontario http://www.mhp.gov.on.ca/en/smoke-free/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/quit-cesser/index-eng.php
Smokers Helpline www.smokershelpline.ca
Thank you so much to my guests that were on this weeks show. They offered really great information that you can benefit from.
If you’ve been thinking about it, take action. Today’s the day that smoke free starts!
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. She also inspires patients from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.