Why becoming a quitter can make you a winner
By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
The discussion to quit smoking cigarettes can be as stressful as trying to quit. The nagging. The pressure to succeed. The feeling of failure. The cost. The nagging. The fear. The withdrawals. The pressure. The nagging. Does this sound similar? Are you feeling like you need a smoke break as you read this? If so, then I know exactly how you feel and so does 42.1 million other people in the U.S. who smoke everyday.
I started smoking when I was 20-years-old, because it made me feel cool. Cliché as it is, it was my reason to commit to buying my first few packs and getting past the sick feeling I got every time I tried to inhale. Eventually I got over the sick feeling and I developed a habit.
Cigarettes contain 600 ingredients with nicotine as the key ingredient, giving it that addictive component. When smoked, a cigarette creates over 4,000 harmful chemicals including arsenic, commonly used in rat poison, formaldehyde, which is used as an embalming fluid, naphthalene, an ingredient found in moth balls, and tar, a material used to pave roads and to seal roofs.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control, Americans spent $8.4 billion on tobacco in 2011, and cigarette smoking is the number one leading cause of preventable death in the United States, “accounting for more than 480,000 deaths, or one of every five deaths, each year.”
My decision to quit smoking for good came in the beginning of 2014. I had tried, unsuccessfully to quit the previous year, but in 2014 I got the gusto to commit to quitting after meeting with the cessation specialist Ashley Tiedeman with the Tulalip Stop
Smoking Program. Now I have been smoke free for a year.
The Tulalip Tribes Stop Smoking program provides an essential lifeline for those trying to quit in the Snohomish County. Through the program you will receive one-on-one help tailored to your needs, free of cost. The program provides support and cessation supplies such as the popular nicotine patches and gum that help smokers kick the habit.
There were multiple factors that led to my decision to quit, which included the financial burden of smoking. I spent roughly $1,296.36 in 2013 on packs of Marlboros. The toll on my health was starting to be felt outwardly. I had decreased oxygen levels leading to shortness of breath. My teeth were yellowing and I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I couldn’t smoke, which include irritability, hunger, coughing, dry mouth, tiredness or drowsiness, and trouble sleeping.
When meeting with Tiedeman, I learned there were a variety of options available to me in my journey to quit the habit. The most common option smokers consider is the “cold turkey” method, which involves literally ceasing to smoke a cigarette, despite the withdrawal symptoms you experience. This is the method that I used to quit. Other methods include herbal remedies and medication to help tackle cravings, the number one obstacle people face when trying to quit.
The other obstacle smokers face trying to quit is fear of failure, which is why a majority of smokers try to hide their attempts at quitting. Routines developed as a smoker, such as pairing the activity of smoking with another daily activity like driving or after eating, also makes it difficult to quit.
To help participants, the Stop Smoking program helps smokers create a toolbox of resources to draw from when they experience temptations and cravings.
“There is no pressure. We help people develop coping skills to get past smoking. We meet with them on a weekly basis to help them stay on track, and help them assess where they succeeding and having difficulties, then develop action plans for them. There is no time limit to quitting. It is just day by day,” said Tiedeman.
For help quitting smoking or more information on the program, please contact Ashley Tiedeman at 360-716-5719.
Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; email@example.com