For Many of You Kicking the Habit Is an Ongoing Struggle

By: Sonia Randev
By: Sonia Randev

"I go crazy, I get nervous, and hyper, got to have one, really have to have one." Tina Gagliardi has been trying to quit smoking for years.

Linda Gayle Johnson, runs a program called GIFT at the Augusta Medical Center, it stands for Get independence From Tobacco. The program mainly focuses on providing smokers with motivation and support.

"A group support component, which is really important in the process of quitting because you feel you're not alone as your work through the process," says Johnson.

And, Johnson says smokers that try to quit cold turkey have a pretty high success rate.

Johnson says although things like nicotine patches, gum and pills can be helpful aides, they do carry some danger.

"I think there is a danger in some of those, because you have to be very careful that you're not smoking when you are using some of those products, because then you can actually overdose on nicotine, which can be very dangerous," says Johnson.

The program also provides literature to family members on how to be supportive but Johnson says it really has to come from them. For Gagliardi she's got her reasons why she wants to quit.

"My biggest reason is I have a five-year-old daughter that on a regular basis looks at me now, thinking for being five that I'll die from smoking," says Gagliardi.

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The Great American Smokeout: Thursday, Nov. 20

  • Quitters will find camaraderie and support on November 20 when thousands of Americans avoid tobacco use for the day or for good.

  • For 25 years more smokers have kicked the habit during the Great American Smokeout than any other day of the year.

  • The concept dates from the early '70s when Lynn Smith, publisher of the Monticello Times of Minnesota, announced the first observance and called it "D Day."

  • The idea caught on in state after state until in 1977, it went nationwide under the sponsorship of the American Cancer Society.

  • If past Smokeouts are any indication, as many as one-third of the nation's 46 million smokers could be taking the day off from smoking.

Rules

  • You just quit smoking for the 24 hours of the Smokeout.

  • The wonderful thing is that you won't be alone; you can swap advice, jokes and groans with the other "quitters," nonsmokers and the American Cancer Society volunteers who will be cheering you on.

  • Even if you don't go on to quit permanently, you will have learned that you can quit for a day and that many others around you are taking the step, too.

American Cancer Society

  • Behind the festivities of the Great American Smokeout are thousands of hard-working American Cancer Society volunteers who visit schools, malls and workplaces to publicize the events and distribute information about quitting.

  • ACS also enlists nonsmokers to "adopt" smokers for the day, supporting them with advice and snacks. The support continues for those who decide not to return to smoking after the Great American Smokeout is over.

Source: www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society Web site) contributed to this report.


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