Smoking is no longer very socially acceptable. Workplaces don’t allow it due to increased ‘sick days’ the smoker may take and the higher cost for health insurance. Malls, restaurants and bars don’t allow it with increasing frequency. People don’t want smokers in their homes or around their children. Landlords may not want to rent to smokers because of tobacco damage to walls and carpets, not to mention higher insurance rates. In the US, smokers make up 1/4th of the population, making it difficult for a smoker to find a potential mate other than another smoker.

Smoking harms other people, too. Second hand smoke? It’s not a joke and additionally goes by the name of passive smoking and environmental tobacco smoke, alluding to the cigarette smoke that is exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke kills thousands of people by lung cancer and heart disease. If you live with a smoker, you are smoking secondhand and are at an increased risk for all the maladies that smokers are vulnerable to. Smoking mothers have been shown an increase instance in asthma for their unborn fetus. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and low birth weight infants are attributed to smoking while pregnant. Babies born into smoking homes are more susceptible to bronchitis, colds, ear infections and other respiratory illnesses. Dizziness, nausea, headaches and eye irritation are all effects that can be ascribed to secondhand smoking.

Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things to do. Unlearning any habit is time-consuming and overwhelming. There are many resources available online and through hospitals, your doctor, social support groups and, of course, friends and family.

In order to quit smoking, you have to mean it. Think about how much life you will be saving (yours) and how many other lives you will be saving. You will set a good example for your children if you quit smoking before they are born. The health risks are so numerous, no one should ever start smoking and tobacco should potentially be illegal. However, this is not the case and willpower needs to be put into action.

Prepare for a Quit Day. Think long and hard about it and when you have come to the conclusion that it is time to quit, arm yourself with information and resources. There are nicotine gums, patches, candies and telephone hotlines. People who discover a method and stick to it have a greater success rate to stay quit from smoking than those who do not. The American Cancer Society provides support at 1.800.ACS.2345 or 1.800.227.2345. The hotline will help you recognize and cope with problems that arise during quitting and provide support and encouragement to help you stay quit. The rule of thumb is the more intense of a quitting program you undertake, the more likely it is to achieve success. There are classes and support groups that can assist you in your decision to quit. There is no reason to go it alone. Many people have tried and failed and many people have tried and succeeded. The ones who succeeded generally had a lot of help from their friends.

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