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Make the holidays your time to quit smoking

Make the holidays your time to quit smoking

The Great American Smokeout hopes to encourage more people to quit smoking

Each November, the Great American Smokeout day is devoted to challenging cigarette smokers to give it up for 24 hours, and hopefully forever.

Believe it or not, this awareness day has been around for 50 years, launched in Massachusetts by a high school guidance counselor. The counselor asked people who smoke to quit for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a scholarship fund. The idea spread over the years and evolved into what is now known across the country as the Great American Smokeout.

Smoking impacts major organs in the body, whether young or old

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Yet, nearly 40 million Americans continue to smoke cigarettes. Shockingly, nearly five million users are middle and high school age consumers.

When it comes to products, it’s not only cigarettes that are causing health issues; smokeless tobacco, like chew or dip, and e-cigarettes, which are extremely popular among youth.

Whether you begin smoking at a young age or later in life, the damage being done to your body can be extensive and lead to numerous diseases or worse. As the CDC notes:

  • Cigarette smoking leads to 480,000 deaths every year
  • Smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in the U.S.
  • Smoking causes 80 percent of COPD deaths, which is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Smoking increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases
  • Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body

Nicotine, like alcohol and other drugs, can be addictive, and that’s why it’s so difficult for so many to quit smoking. There are some signs that you may be addicted to nicotine:

  • You plan activities that allow you time to smoke
  • You experience cravings for nicotine
  • If you’ve tried to stop smoking, you experience mental and physical withdrawal symptoms, such as mood changes, irritability, headaches, increased appetite, and insomnia
  • You continue to use nicotine despite known health problems

Steps you can take to stop smoking

If you are among those who continue to smoke today, there are steps you can take to quit this unhealthy habit.

Seek professional counseling – one phone quitline available for help is 1-800-QUIT-NOW

Consult your doctor as there are some medications available that can help, such as:

  • Prescription medication such as Varenicline and Bubropion

Calculate your financial cost of smoking

Do you know how much money you could save if you quit smoking today? Use our Cost of Smoking Calculator to see how much you could be saving. Think of it as a Christmas or New Year's present to yourself.

Add it up: Cost of Smoking Calculator

Smoking cessation program at West Jefferson can help you quit

West Jefferson Medical Center offers a full team of Pulmonary specialists who focus on providing cutting-edge clinical and technological advances in sleep and pulmonary medicine, including helping our patients quit smoking. If you are among those seeking a healthier lifestyle, today may be your day to start by joining others in the Great American Smokeout.

To make an appointment with Dr. Jason Miller so you can get started on your quit journey, call 504-882-9687.

Dr. Jason MillerAbout Dr. Jason Miller, Pulmonologist:

Originally from Indiana, the pursuit of an advanced degree brought him to New Orleans. After earning a master’s degree in human genetics from Tulane University, education took him back to the Midwest — but southern Louisiana kept calling him back.

After medical school, Dr. Miller completed Internal Medicine training in Chicago. He returned to New Orleans to complete his Pulmonary & Critical Care fellowship training at LSU. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, & Critical Care Medicine.

His great loves in life are family and his garden.