In Hawaii, smoking claims 1,400 adult deaths each year and contributes to 21,000 premature deaths for children under 18 years old. Smoking causes:
Cancer in nearly every organ in your body, including:
-Lung. Smokers are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer.
-Colon and rectum
Coronary heart disease. Smokers have a risk 2 to 4 times greater than non-smokers.
Stroke. The risk of having a stroke is 2 to 4 times greater for smokers.
Lung diseases, including COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis
Lower sperm count in men
Babies who may die earlier before delivery or from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. Even if you do not smoke, breathing in secondhand smoke can be harmful and can cause:
Health problems in infants. These include frequent asthma attacks, respiratory and ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Lung cancer. Each year, more than 7,300 non-smokers in the U.S. die from lung cancer
Premature death from heart disease. Each year, nearly 34,000 premature deaths from secondhand smoke happen in the U.S.
Strokes caused by a burst blood vessel or a clot blocking blood flow to the brain
There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing in even a little secondhand smoke can be dangerous.
Set a specific day to quit smoking.
Create your own smoke free environment.
Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and place of work.
Don’t let people smoke in your home.
Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
Once you quit, don’t smoke – NOT EVEN A PUFF!
Step Two: Get support and encouragement
Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. You can get support in many ways:
Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are going to quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out.
Talk to your health care provider (for example, doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist or smoking counselor.)
Get individual, group or telephone counseling. The more counseling you have, the better your chances are of quitting. Programs are given at local hospitals and health centers.
Step Three: Learn new skills and behaviors
Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a walk or get busy with a task.
When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work.
Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise or read a book.
Plan something enjoyable to do everyday.
Drink a lot of water and other fluids.
Step Four: Get medication and use it correctly
Nicotine replaecment therapies can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five products containing nicotine that reduce cravings to help you quit smoking:
Prescription medications, such as Bupropion SR and Varenicline, are also helpful in reducing the urge to smoke. Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read and follow the information on the package. All of these medications will more or less double your chances of quitting for good, but it still takes a lot of willpower. Everyone who is trying to quit may benefit from using a medication. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under 18, smoking less than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.
Step Five: Be prepared for a relapse or difficult situations
Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don’t be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. Here are some difficult situations to watch for:
Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
Other Smokers. Being around people who are smoking can make you want to smoke.
Weight Gain. Many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually less than ten pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don’t let weight gain distract you from your main goal – quitting smoking. Some quit smoking medications may help delay weight gain.
Stress or Depression. There are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking.
If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your doctor or other health care provider.
The “Hawai‘i Tobacco Quitline” is a free local service for anyone who lives in Hawai‘i who wants to quit smoking or using tobacco. When you call, they will work with you to find the best support so you can quit. It’s free, confidential, simple. If you or a loved one is ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or visit them online (http://www.hawaiiquitline.org/).
As of November 16, 2006, work places and public areas in Hawai‘i will be smoke-free, protecting people from the risks of secondhand smoke. This new law ensures that workers have a safe work place and that non-smoker, including children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory conditions can breathe smoke-free air in the public places they visit.
Attached is an overview of Act 295, Hawai‘i Smoke-free Workplace and Public Place Law. For a complete copy visit: www.hawaiismokefree.com.
In the passage of the Hawai‘i Smoke-free Workplace and Public Place law (Act 295) there are restrictions on smoking at workplaces as well as public places. This is an ideal time to help your co-worker to quit smoking.
Here is a list of tips to help your co-worker be successful:
Express care. Skip the criticism.
Try saying, “I really care about you and I’m worried about your smoking.”
Talk about the reasons you are concerned.
It’s ok to let them know you care but be careful not to criticize.
Remember, the smoker will need to make the decision.
If your co-worker is not ready, you can’t talk him or her in to quitting.
Nagging, complaining or pressuring will probably backfire. It may even make it harder for the person to quit when he or she is ready.
Ask how you can help.
If your co-worker is planning to quit, you can say “what can I do to help?”
If they are not ready to, let them know that you would like to support them when they do decide to quit.
Be on call.
For some people, having a person they can talk to when they are craving a cigarette is helpful. If they need to talk often, reassure them that it is not a burden. “Tell them I want to help.”
Encourage even the small steps. Offer praise for thinking about quitting or cutting back
Give extra encouragement during the first few days of quitting.
You can say, “It’s wonderful that you are thinking about quitting” or “I noticed that you haven’t smoked today that’s great.”
Encourage non-smoking activities.
If you are going out together, suggest doing activity that does not include smoking.
Take a walk together. Play basketball or tennis. It is hard to smoke (or think about smoking) when you are being physically active.
During lunch and coffee break keep him or her busy with eating and talking on work related and other topics.
Be prepared for slips.
Quitting for good can take several tries. If your co-worker slip, don’t get mad or disappointed. Say “It’s Ok. I know that you can do it. It just takes time.”
Keep up the support.
Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things a person can do. It can be hard for weeks, months or sometimes even years after quitting.
Celebrate one day, one week and one month without smoking. Go out to dinner or give a small gift.
Let your co-worker know how much it means to you that he or she no longer smoking.
In Hawaii, individuals and families enjoy many protections from secondhand smoke exposure where they work and play. More housing operators are also choosing to prohibit smoking where people live as well. All public housing operated by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority is smoke-free by law. Many condominium boards and property management companies have voluntarily chosen to adopt smoke-free policies in individual living units as well.
Currently in Hawaii, all indoor places open to the public and places of employment prohibit smoking (including all electronic smoking devices, or e-cigarettes) by law. All public schools are also protected by tobacco-free legislation. In recent years, these protections have expanded to all state parks and beaches, as well as most county recreational facilities. Some counties are even moving to protect children from secondhand smoke in vehicles when a minor is present.
Smoke-free laws and policies not only protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, but they also create an environment that supports those who are trying to quit smoking as well as discourages youth from ever starting.