January is the month of resolutions. People jump with “it’s a new year” momentum to climb the hills of eating healthier, changing lifestyles and quitting habits that are making them ill. Then we get to February, and those hills start to feel like mountains, and our motivation wanes. Quitting smoking can be a similar rollercoaster ride, especially when we add in the stress of the global pandemic and the addictive nature of nicotine.
Nonetheless, there are many reasons to quit smoking. Cigarettes harm nearly every organ of the body and cause myriad diseases. Most people consider the lungs when they think of organs harmed from smoking. While it is true that most lung cancer is due to active smoking, this habit can cause cancer in the bladder, pancreas, stomach, kidneys, liver, colon, esophagus and many other places.
The heart is another organ that can be severely impacted by cigarettes. Smoking damages blood vessels, leading to heart attack, stroke and other coronary artery disease. Even smoking as few as five cigarettes a day can increase your risk of developing these preventable yet deadly conditions. Discoloration of the teeth along with weak and damaged skin and hair are less deadly but still offer reasons to dump the habit.
Why is it so hard to quit?
Smoking is addictive, which makes quitting extremely hard, especially if you have been at it for a long time. Quitting takes not only personal motivation but also a support system. Hancock Regional Hospital offers the extremely helpful Commit to Quit tobacco cessation program designed to help participants quit both smoking and vaping, as well as smokeless tobacco. With support meetings that include an educational component and a personalized plan, we hope to help those who are wishing to quit smoking to fulfill that goal.
Commit to Quit meets on four consecutive Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., and meetings are conveniently found in multiple locations, including Hancock Regional Hospital, Hancock Wellness Center in Greenfield and Hancock Wellness Center in McCordsville. Registration is as simple as filling out an online form, and questions can be directed to Brandee Bastin at (317) 468-4162.
Even though quitting is difficult, it has numerous benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health, not to mention the health of the people breathing the air around you. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Find friends or family who will offer support, and don’t forget to reach out in your community for help. Hancock Regional Hospital offers you the tools to quit smoking, get help and never look back!