Ways to kick the smoking habit

January 10, 2008 5:10:14 PM PST
Advice on how to finally kick your bad smoking habit and become smoke-free!

Do you or a friend or loved one, want to have a smoke-free New Year? Or have your tried to stop before without much success? Joining us now to give advice on how to finally kick that bad habit is Beth Sherman, Director of Community Programs at Breathe California.

Classes to help people stop smoking are trying to help Bay Area residents make your New Year's resolutions come true. Classes will be held across the peninsula to help smokers kick the habit this January.

As 2008 rapidly approaches, numerous people will be preparing to tackle their New Year's resolutions. For those who will attempt to quit smoking, the task cannot only be formidable, but also have life-altering implications. So to help those determined to kick the habit, Breathe California has announced that it will be bringing its "Ash Kickers" stop-smoking classes to local residents throughout the area this January.

"Studies show that as many as 75% of smokers want to quit, many of whom attempt to do so during the New Year," said Linda Civitello-Joy, President & CEO of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership. "Our upcoming Ash Kickers classes seek to help these people as they try to kick the habit and start the New Year smoke-free."

The agency's Ash Kickers program consists of six, one-and-a-half-hour sessions which offer assistance to smokers as they travel through the various stages of quitting. Led by a trained facilitator, the curriculum covers a wide array of relevant topics such as dealing with stress, nutritional tips and how to avoid temptation. The class also provides a comfortable group atmosphere that facilitates a natural support network for each participant.

Beginning January 3rd, the agency will be hosting eight different Ash Kickers classes across the peninsula (see entire list below). To attract as many participants as possible, this New Year's schedule includes a wide range of class days, times and locations, as well as a class being taught in Spanish. Furthermore, through grants from the Tobacco Prevention Program of San Mateo County and First Five San Mateo, classes held in San Mateo County will be FREE to county residents.

New Year's Ash Kickers Class Schedule:

    San Mateo County (FREE for San Mateo County residents)
    Daly City
    2171 Junipero Serra Blvd, 2nd Floor Conference Room
    January 3 - January 31
    Thursday mornings, 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Additional meeting on Friday, January 18

    Second Daly City class: 2171 Junipero Serra Blvd, 2nd Floor Conference Room
    January 22 - February 19
    Tuesday evenings, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    Additional meeting on Thursday, February 7

    Pacifica Recreation Center, 540 Crespi Dr
    January 16 - February 13
    Wednesday evenings, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    Additional meeting on Friday, February 1

    Redwood City
    Sequoia Wellness Center, 749 Brewster Ave, Mojave Conference Room
    January 7 - February 25
    Monday evenings, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    Class does not meet on Martin Luther King Day or Presidents Day

    Special Class in Spanish!
    Fair Oaks Community Center, 2600 Middlefield Road
    January 10 - February 7
    Thursday evenings, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
    Additional meeting on Friday, February 1

    San Mateo
    San Mateo Medical Center, 222 W 39th Ave
    January 8 - February 5
    Tuesday evenings, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
    Additional meeting on Thursday, January 24

    Santa Clara County
    Mountain View
    Camino Medical Group, 701 E. El Camino Real, Conference Room A
    January 23 - February 20
    Wednesday evenings, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    Additional meeting on Friday, February 8

    San Jose
    O'Connor Hospital, 2105 Forest Ave, De Paul Room
    January 9 - February 6
    Wednesday evenings, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    Additional meeting on Friday, January 25

Although the Bay Area has one of the lowest smoking rates in the state and nation, tobacco use remains the #1 preventable cause of death. Smoking has been shown to cause a number of serious and deadly health problems, including emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease.

For more information about the agency's upcoming Ash Kickers classes, please call 1-877-3-BREATHE or visit www.breathecalifornia.org to be connected to your local Breathe California office. Now celebrating its 100th year of service in the Bay Area, Breathe California is dedicated to fighting lung disease in all its forms and working with its communities to promote lung health.


    People trying to quit this time of year:
  • Quitting smoking is one of the top New Year's resolutions
  • An estimated 70% of smokers say they want to quit, many of whom attempt to do so during the New Year.
  • 43% of everyday smokers said they stopped smoking for at least 1 day during the past year because they were trying to quit.
  • Nearly 54 % of current high school cigarette smokers in the United States tried to quit smoking within the preceding year.
  • Quitting smoking has immediate and long term benefits.

    Why you should consider quitting:

  • Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the U.S.
  • Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the overall health of smokers - emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, etc.
  • Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 1 of every 5 deaths (438,000 people) each year. (CDC)
  • An estimated, 21% of all adults (45.1 million people) smoke cigarettes in the United States. (CDC)
  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. (CDC)
  • Each year, second hand smoke may be responsible for about 3,000 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers and an additional 35,000 to 40,000 cases of heart disease among people who are not current smokers.
  • The Surgeon General has identified cigarette smoking as "a major cause of lung, laryngeal, oral and esophageal cancer; a contributory factor for bladder, pancreatic, and kidney cancer; and associated with both stomach and cervical cancers".

    The challenges/what to expect if you're trying to quit:

  • Most relapses occur during the first 3 months. Do not be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember it takes most people several tries before finally quitting smoking for good. The following are some difficult situations you may encounter:
      Alcohol - avoid drinking alcohol
      Other Smokers - being around them may make you want to smoke
      Weight Gain - many smokers will gain some weight; exercise, stay active to counteract this
      Bad Mood or Depression - medications may help
  • Smokers also experience nicotine withdrawal. Examples of nicotine withdrawal symptoms include: irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, restlessness, increased appetite.

    Easy tips or strategies when quitting:

    1. Change your environment (get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays)
    2. Create a plan to deal with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, times you usually smoke.
    3. Get support and encouragement: Tell your friends, family, co-workers that you are quitting and want their support. Get group, individual, or telephone counseling.
    4. Get medication and use it correctly: Use FDA-approved medications. These medications will at least double your chances of quitting.

    When Smokers Quit - What Are the Benefits Over Time?
    20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.
    12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
    2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and lung function increases.
    1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
    1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
    5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
    10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas also decreases.
    15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

    About the Ash Kicker program:

  • Our Ash Kickers classes are made up of 6 weekly sessions led by a trained facilitator that offer participants strategies and resources to quit smoking.
  • The class is based on a behavior modification model that walks you all the way through the steps of deciding to quit, quitting and staying quit.
  • Our class is also great because it promotes a group atmosphere that acts as a support network for each participant.

    About the New Year Schedule of Classes:

  • This January, we are offering 8 classes throughout the area from Daly City to San Jose.
  • To attract as many participants possible, our schedule offers a wide variety of class days, times and locations.
  • We are also excited to be hosting a class in Redwood City that will be taught in Spanish.
  • Through a grant from First Five San Mateo and the Tobacco Prevention Program of San Mateo County, we are able to offer our San Mateo County classes free to county residents. These individual can also receive free patches.
  • For more info about these upcoming classes, please call 1-877-3-BREATHE or visit or visit www.breathecalifornia.org to be connected with your local Bay Area office.

    About Breathe California:

  • Breathe California is a non-profit agency dedicated to fighting lung disease and promoting lung health in our communities.
  • We're very active here in the Bay Area, with two local offices: 1 in Daly City, 1 in San Jose
  • We address a number of critical health issues like tobacco control, asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, tuberculosis, as well as air quality.
  • As part of this mission, we offer a number of local programs and services to assist those suffering from lung disease, keep kids off tobacco, help people quit smoking and educate the public about important lung health issues.
  • We're also active in health-related policy issues and lung disease research.
  • This year, we're celebrating our 100th year of service in the Bay Area and our New Year's quit-smoking classes will be kicking off a very busy and exciting year for our agency (feel free to elaborate on other stuff going on during the year)