Smoking has long been a symbol of cool in our society. Greta Garbo, Carol Lombardo, Audrey Hepburn all made it look so very glamorous. In 1968, Phillip Morris launched “Virginia Slims” to a generation of independence-seeking women with the marketing campaign, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
Of course, that was about the same time the Surgeon General’s warning that “smoking is dangerous to your health” was also on every pack of cigarettes.
Unfortunately, that warning still goes unheeded. Just this month, a new study by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute published in the New England Journal of Medicine points to some troubling new statistics: While overall incidences of lung cancer have decreased, the decrease in men has been substantially steeper for men than women. And, while the risk of developing lung cancer drops significantly after one quits, the risk of adenocarcinoma drops more slowly than other cancers… and women are more likely to develop that type of lung cancer than men.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 234,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and 154,050 will die of it. Approximately 80% of those cases are directly related to smoking.
According to the US Drug Administration, smoking continues to have a profound impact on the health and well-being of women and their families in the United States.
- About 13.6% of all women smoke cigarettes.
- Every day, nearly 1,100 girls under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette.
- Nearly 7 percent of all high school aged girls smoke cigarettes.
When it comes to smoking, the best advice is “never start.” But if you do start, the American Lung Association has some tips to get you on track to quit:
- It’s never too late to quit. While it’s best to quit smoking as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life. You’ll also save money and avoid the hassle of going outside in the cold to smoke. You can even inspire those around you to quit smoking!
- Learn from past experiences. Most smokers have tried to quit before and sometimes people get discouraged thinking about previous attempts. Instead, treat those experiences as steps on the road to future success. Think about what helped you during those tries and what you’ll do differently in your next quit attempt.
- You don’t have to quit alone. Telling friends and family that you’re trying to quit and enlisting their support will help ease the process. Expert help is available from the American Lung Association and other groups. Friends who also smoke may even join you in trying to quit!
- Medication can help, if you know what to do. The seven FDA-approved medications (like nicotine patches or gum) really do help smokers quit. Many folks don’t use them correctly or don’t use them long enough, so be sure to follow the directions.
- Every smoker can quit. Each person needs to find the right combination of techniques for them and above all, they need to keep trying.
And, right here at Hancock Regional Hospital, we have “Commit to Quit” smoking cessation courses. Commit to Quit utilizes the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart Program as a guide to conducting our classes. For more information, contact Brandee Bastin at (317) 468-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.