American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout

  • In honor of the annual American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout (on November 19th), a few words about quitting the tobacco habit are very timely and suitable. The "Smokeout" day is a day set aside for anyone who smokes to quit for 24 hours. Hopefully, a day of abstinence will lead to more days and ultimately one less smoker to support "Big Tobacco" companies. Nothing is easy about quitting this nasty addiction. Extra time and energy needs to be allocated. Most importantly, a person who seriously wants to stop smoking forever needs to have a proper strategy in order to maintain the abstinence. The act of quitting can be easier than the relapse prevention. The core of relapse prevention is in the Anticipation of a crisis, the Decision to act, and the Production of a coping response (A.D.P.). Mastering relapse prevention can help you make everyday a "Smokeout" day.

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    Anticipation of a crisis is a matter of recognizing a high risk situation that can trigger a relapse towards an addiction behavior. One such high risk situation for smokers is a party. Other smokers might be at the party. One might be a little disarmed by alcohol. All the sudden a smoker is pushed into a crisis and to the brink of smoking again. This relapse can be prevented by first recognizing that a risk of relapse is eminent. Before someone even goes to the party, he/she should already be aware of the risk and have a plan for action-a plan to save your life.


    Deciding to act is the next important step to prevent a smoking relapse. This step involves the "Uh-oh, I am in trouble here, I really want to smoke, I'd better do something" response. And doing something necessitates a decision about what to do. Deciding which coping response to use in a certain situation is very critical because every situation is different and every coping strategy is different. Matching the right strategy with the right situation is a valuable skill to anyone hoping to kick a habit. At the party, an appropriate strategy might be a take a quick walk around the block. An inappropriate strategy would be to start knitting a scarf (Unless it is a knitting party). Choosing the most effective way to cope with the craving to pick up a cigarette is the most important decision in an ex-smokers life-a new life without "Big Tobacco" on your back.


    Producing the right coping response is the final act in preventing a relapse. Acting quickly enough to curb the craving is one important aspect of the production. At the party, a smoker might want to make sure that the walking shoes are on the feet before the hand has a chance to pick up a lighter. Producing an effective coping response is also a matter of acting with a full-hearted effort. At the party, one should fully commit to a coping strategy, not allowing anyone to distract the efforts by saying "Sorry, I need to go for a walk right now". With the right timing and effort, a coping performance has a great chance at success. Success is not necessarily 100%. Some failure should be anticipated; but, these minor setbacks should merely be bumps in the road to complete abstinence from smoking. These bumps should be taken in stride. At no time should feelings of guilt or incompetence enter the picture and justify further indulgence in the addiction. This production is the performance of your life.


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    Your life is your business. However, the cost of healthcare is becoming everyone's business. Tobacco addiction costs millions, if not billions, in precious healthcare dollars. Tobacco addiction is literally choking every last healthcare dollar out of America as the leading preventable cause of chronic diseases and death. So, everyone needs to get involved in the "Smokeout" effort. With the New Year approaching, no time is better than the present to quit making excuses and put an end to the "Butt's".


Published On: December 01, 2009