Healthy Living: Turn 2021 into a tobacco free year

Channel 2 Morning Edition (6 a.m.)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 11:27 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s a new year, a reset of sorts and for some. Resolutions have been replaced with smart goals and ways to improve your health. In this week’s Healthy Living, we focus on tips for a tobacco-free new year and ways to help quit smoking.

According to the American Lung Association’s website under health effects of smoking, smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide.

Smoking-related diseases claim more than 480,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. It also said among current smokers, 73% of their diagnosed smoking-related conditions are chronic lung disease.

This brings us to living in a pandemic and smoking being a risk factor for the severe illness of COVID-19. We spoke with Carrie Nyssen, the area’s Senior Director of Advocacy about why now more than ever is the time to be tobacco-free.

“Find your why. Figure out why it is you do want to quit using tobacco. My dad was a long-time tobacco smoker and he quit for his grandkids when he understood that the exposure to second-hand smoke to his grandkids, could cause serious harm and even death. That’s what motivated him, so spending some time really figuring out your why can be really powerful,” said Nyssen.

Use a plan that’s both safe and effective. Learn from past experiences. If you get discouraged, don’t give up. You don’t have to quit alone. There are several programs to help. Talk to a doctor about medications that can help you quit smoking and finally, know that every smoker can quit. Just because you have a slip-up, doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

“Many people have tried to quit many times before they’re successful. You’re not a failure, you can learn from your past experiences, what worked, what do you want to try again and deepen your tool kit and what didn’t work and you can let go of those things,” added Nyssen.

Nyssen also touched on some of the benefits when you do quit, saying within 24 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal. Within 3 months your lung function improves, and as time goes on, your risk to cancer becomes less and less.

Click here for more information about the American Lung Association and tips to quit smoking. You can also call the free lung helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

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