It#039;s time to quit finally

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

It's that time of year when people ponder the past year and look to the future.

They make promises they want to keep.

Sometimes it is to lose weight, find a new job, find true love and many decide to quit smoking.

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This year I'm one of those people.

I'm doing it for several reasons but the most selfish reason is that I want to be around to see my nephews and niece grow into adulthood.

I want to see what becomes of them.

It is hard to believe but nearly 48 million Americans aged 18 years and older smoke, and according to the CDC, 34 million of these want to quit.

. Of that number, only 1.3 million will quit successfully. I plan to be in that number.

Am I addicted to them, you bet

Why is it so hard to quit?

I guess

for me it is a habit that I formed while I was in college.

What better way to rebel than to light up a cigarette.

The dominant reason why so many fail is that they don't know how to quit.

I've been reading up on this in anticipation of the big day and would like to share some ideas

with you. I propose we start a no-smoking group and keep track of how we're doing and we'll follow these little steps to quit smoking.

n Decide right now to believe that you can quit smoking

n Realize that your old belief was founded on old ideas and circumstances and that your new belief is based on new information and your newfound desire to quit smoking now.

n On 3X5 cards, write out several positive statements about your ability to quit. Read your cards three times a day: morning, noon and bedtime.

n Post a sign on your bathroom mirror with one of the above statements on it.

n Repeat the above statements to yourself, whenever you have a free moment.

n Use visualization techniques

to visualize yourself mastering your smoking habit and winning the fight.

n Ask your family and friends to encourage you with positive statements about your ability to quit smoking (See Step 5 below).

n Create a &uot;Quit Plan&uot; Put your plan on paper.

n Decide on a specific date that you will quit. Write down your &uot;quit date.&uot; Also, choose a quit date that occurs during a relatively low stress time. Don't try to quit during a stressful time at work or during the break-up of a relationship, for example.

n Write down all the things you will enjoy doing after you quit smoking (long walks, eating out without being restricted to the smoking section, taking a vacation with the money you will save, etc.). This step is very important, so spend extra time dreaming up your &uot;smoke-free future.&uot;


Take action. You can win the battle

n Prepare yourself mentally

n Get Help and support from family and friends for your addiction.

n Get help from your doctor.

n Just don't give up.

So next Friday, I'll begin my smoke-free life.

I personally can't wait to take that cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II with the money I'll save by not smoking.

Good luck to all those who will try to quit smoking.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-383-9203, ext 136 for via email at jay.thomas