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A Publication of WTVP

We are women. We are strong. We run corporations. We run households. We can overcome the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the United States—smoking.

Since 1980, about three million women have died prematurely of smoking-related diseases. In 1997, about 165,000 U.S. women died of smoking-related diseases, including lung and other cancers, heart disease, stroke and chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema. Women smokers who die of a smoking-related disease lose on average 14 years of potential life. Are you a smoker? What could you do with those 14 extra years?

Cardiovascular Disease

Cancers

Most women know that the health effects of smoking are good reasons to quit but continue to smoke anyway. Quitting smoking is not an easy thing to do, but addictions can and have been broken. Your decision to quit smoking is a major one. Weigh your choices carefully and you will find that the choice to quit smoking far outweighs the choice to continue smoking. This may be the best decision you ever make for your health.

When I was smoking, I knew it was bad for my health but never dreamed that any of the health risks associated with smoking would ever happen to me. In 1982, I had a brain tumor and soon after surgery, I began smoking again. Then in 1986, I decided that I was not going to let cigarettes control my life any longer. It was time to gain my freedom back.

So how did I start? Every time I had the urge to smoke, I went for a walk. My walking program led to running. I am currently training for my sixth half-marathon, and on October 26—my 60th birthday—I am going to run a full marathon (26.2 miles). Research has shown that people who begin an exercise program and make healthy lifestyle changes have a much greater chance of lifelong success. I absolutely cannot imagine myself ever smoking another cigarette. I attribute that to the lifestyle I now live.

The first step to quitting is to prepare your mind. Believe that there is a way for you to quit. Build confidence in yourself by building a positive attitude. Begin by saying, “I can quit smoking.” Realize that you have power over that cigarette. Soon you will believe that you can quit!

Next, you need to address your concerns for quitting. Face your fears. What is it that you are holding on to that is preventing you from quitting?

Compile a list of reasons for quitting. For example,

Make the reasons specific and personal. Keep your list handy, as your reasons may change from day to day, and it will help build your motivation to quit.

Then you need to study your smoking habit. Think about each cigarette you light up. Why are you lighting up that cigarette? How are you feeling at that moment? Did you really want it, or was it just associated with what you were doing at that moment? By thinking about each cigarette you are smoking, you can build your plan to quit.

After you study your smoking habit, make a list of things you can do instead of smoking. Being prepared for every situation is the key to success.

And most importantly, always remember—the urge will pass whether you smoke or not. It is all up to you; you have control over cigarettes. You can quit! TPW

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