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Mary Ella’s Weekly Message
December 3, 2010
When to Quit?
When is the best time to quit smoking? The answer to that question is when you are ready. There is no magic date, month or time, but your readiness to quit directly impacts your success at staying smokefree for good.
You may be wondering if this is a good time of year to quit or if you should wait until after the holidays. Sometimes we experience more stress around the holidays and quitting smoking is a big stressor. You may want to take time during the holidays to begin the program, commit to your decision and then pick a Quit Date after the New Year. Or you may want to experience Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa smokefree for the first time in many years. It’s up to you.
The FFS Online program will work for you if you stick with it. Pace yourself by committing to reading a lesson, spending time on the Message Boards (if you are in the Premium program), completing all activities and then waiting 24 hours before starting the next lesson. Read through all the lessons in each Module before proceeding to the next Module. If you sit down and read all the lessons at one time and skip over the assignments, you are only cheating yourself. Quitting isn’t a race to the finish line.
If you have already quit smoking and just joined the FFS Online program, welcome! You can still benefit from the lessons in Modules 1–4. The lessons build on one another and although the activities in these Modules may not be pertinent to you now, the rest of the program will make more sense because you’ll know what we’re refering to in the final Modules.
I have yet to meet participants that can tell me that they’re happy they started smoking. Usually I hear that they wish they never started smoking in the first place. You have an opportunity to help others avoid becoming addicted to nicotine! There’s an exciting new proposal from the US Food and Drug Administration that will require all cigarette packages to have new, stronger warnings and—for the first time ever—picture messages that would cover the top half of the front and back of the cigarette packs.
These graphic warning labels are being designed and tested to make sure that they discourage kids from starting to smoke and encourage people who already smoke to quit for good. When other countries have required similar warnings, they have seen success.
The American Lung Association is asking for your help in making sure that the FDA picks the strongest and most effective images and warnings. We also suggest that each pack have “1-800-QUIT-NOW” listed, which is a nationwide hotline for smokers who want to quit. You can do your part; vist our website to learn more about the messages that are being considered and send a letter with the click of your mouse to the FDA. We appreciate your help—many voices make a difference!
Today, I applaud everyone’s effort to be here. Each of you is taking the necessary time for yourself that helps reaffirm your commitment to quit smoking and stay quit for good. As you work through the program in the next couple of weeks, remember the 4 D’s:
- Delay. Don’t give in to your urges. The urge to smoke will pass in 3–5 minutes, whether you smoke or not. During that time, focus on your reasons for quitting and ask for support from your buddies.
- Deep breathe. Download the Relaxation Exercises that are found in the Living Smokefree section of the Premium program and listen to them, especially at times when you need to take a break.
- Drink water. Lots of it! Most of us don’t get enough fluids and eight 8-oz. glasses of water a day are recommended.
- Do something else. A change of activity will get you through an urge curve. Get up, take a walk, wash your hands or talk to someone. Do anything except you know what!
Take advantage of our Lung HelpLine. It’s available free of charge and open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. EST, Monday–Friday. Trained registered nurses, respiratory therapists and smoking cessation counselors are available to answer your questions and talk you through a particularly bad urge to smoke. Call 1-800-LUNG USA (586-4872) for support.
I’ll see you on the Message Boards! :-) Mary Ella
Don’t forget: If you’re in the Premium program and want help fast on the Message Boards, put “HELP NOW” in the subject line of your post. If you’re looking to offer help, watch for those, “HELP NOW” posts and alert your other FFS Online buddies to offer some assistance as well.