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Be healthy; stop smoking

To the Editor:

Now that the holiday season is at a close, the New Year begins with renewed fervor to be healthier.

For readers that have made stopping smoking their top priority, here are a few tips that have worked for others.

• Choose a date to stop smoking.

• Use a medication to decrease withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. Talk to your doctor about the FDA medications approved for smoking cessation, such as the nicotine patch. Your insurance may cover the cost; Medicaid and Medicare cover many options.

• Try different ways to deal with stress, such as: physical activity; deep breathing; and talking it out.

• Choose a positive message to tell yourself when you are faced with comments and your own self-talk that undermine your efforts.

• Do things differently. If you have smoked for a while, you have without knowing it, connected smoking to everyday behaviors, such as, driving, talking on the phone, having coffee. These activities will trigger urges to smoke after you stopped. As a result, now is the time to figure out what you will do instead.

• Get support. Talk to family, friends and co-workers about how they can be of help.

The night before your quit date:

• Throw away all tobacco products

• Remove lighters and ashtrays

• Clean your house and car

• Purchase and place items such as lollipops, cinnamon sticks, toothpicks, gum, carrots, etc in locations that trigger your smoking.

• Place a “no smoking” sign in the window of your home and car.

For more information and support contact the NYS Smokers’ Quitline, 1-866-NY-Quits, 1-866-697-8487, online at www.nysmokefree.com. You may be eligible for a free two week sample of the nicotine patch.

Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of your family and pets.

Margot Gold

Executive Director

North Country Healthy Heart Network

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