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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Quitting smoking: how to help yourself quit

By | | July 23, 2003

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Every person is born with one set of lungs for his or her lifetime. The lungs start working before birth and don't stop until the end of that person's life. Most people don't think too much about their lungs and how much they actually work.Did you know that the average person breathes 18 times every 60 seconds? Most people don't realize the rigorous work their lungs do day in and day out. However, a cold or lung disease might make them think about it a little more.Two of the major effects of smoking are emphysema and cancer.Emphysema destroys the lungs' abilities to expand and contract. Once it develops, it can?t be fixed. Every breath becomes difficult. And lack of oxygen damages other organs, making even the smallest task difficult.The other most common disease caused by smoking is cancer.One reason cancer is so deadly is that it can hide for years. In most cases by the time cancer is detected, it has already spread to the brain, bones or other organs and it's to late for treatment. Lung cancer is not the only cancer caused by smoking.Researchers are finding that smoking is linked with cancers of the mouth, throat, pancreas, cervix, kidney and bladder.Still not convinced that it is time to quit?What if all of the damage that smoking does on the inside showed on the outside? What if the charcoal look that your lungs get from smoking showed on your skin and face? Then would you be convinced? Or maybe a story of a mother or father losing their child because of their second-hand smoke would help you realize how it affects other people?s lives and not just your own.What is it going to take for you to decide to quit? Will it be when you suffer from one of the diseases listed? Is that when you will decide to quit? A smoker doesn't have to have a disease to quit. Now you may be thinking that it will be hard to quit and that you won't be able to do it. And it will be hard, however, isn't your life and your families' lives worth it?Services are available on military installations that can help a smoker kick the habit. Smoking cessation classes are offered by medical professionals who can help. The program starts with deciding to quit and registering for the classes."A person has to want to quit," said Navy Lt. Vicki Jernigan, occupational health department head. "They need to be serious about quitting."The first day of the course is mainly an evaluation process. A medical professional will take and record your blood pressure, weight and pulse. This is done so that you can be monitored for health changes.Information sheets are also done to evaluate how much tobacco products you use and how often. They also cover other factors that may affect a smoker trying to quit, such as whether anyone else in your household or the work place smokes, if you have tried to quit before, and what methods you have already tried.Then the process begins. You will be educated on why you shouldn't smoke, how to quit and how to stay a nonsmoker.The program offers many ways to find support, including the other smokers trying to quit.Many other smokers who have taken these classes were successful.
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