The Great American Smokeout is on November 19th this year (always the 3rd Thursday of November) and the folks at the Avera Heart Hospital hope you jump at the chance to kick the habit for good, for the good of your heart. Here's more on a Sioux Falls man who quit cold turkey 13 years ago and has never looked back.
Jim Reich is a runner. He's run 3 marathons and dozens of road races, something he knows would have been nearly impossible to do 13 years ago. Jim used to be a smoker. For 17 years he smoked a pack a day. The day he quit is the day he started running. He quit 5 months after losing his dad who died from lung cancer at the age of 55. That was in December of 1995.
Jim says, "And it's Interesting that my dad's dad died from lung cancer in 1977 at the age of 67. I noticed a downward trend and started to thinking I needed to make a lifestyle change so in May, May 1st of 1996 I quit cold turkey and said that was enough."
Jim says running helps him stay focused on something positive, a good habit for his heart and his health. He also says he stays away from things that used to trigger his craving for a cig like smoke filled bars.
Respiratory Therapist Deb Murray is the tobacco cessation coach at the Avera Heart Hospital. She says, "You have to know what triggers your smoking. If you always light up the minute you get in the car, you have to do something to change your routine. Clean out your car so it doesn't smell like smoke, so you won't be tempted to smoke when you get in there. Also, drink a lot of water, chew gum and suck on hard candy. It's important to set realistic goals. Stay smoke free for a month and then reward yourself. Keep giving yourself incentives and remember to reward your good behavior."
Jim says, "I think my best advice is for people don't wait for something tragic to occur, like the loss of a loved one for you to say I need to make some changes. Once you decide you are going to quit, put together a plan, think it through and be confident you can carry out the plan."
And when you do, Jim says it's like you've climbed to the top of a mountain. Yes, he's done that more than once too.
Jim says, "It's really affirmation that I'm doing the right thing by not smoking. Hiking to the top of a mountain that's 10, 2, 13,000 feet is hard enough to reach much less think about smoking."
Jim says be patient, have perseverance and you will prevail. Old habits die hard. Quit now so you don't die from this one.
A tobacco cessation coach is available at the Avera Heart Hospital to help you get started quitting. To get in the "Quit for Good" program call 605-977-7000.