Kicking the Butts This New Year

Experts Offer Advice for Those Looking to Quit Smoking in the New Year

DULUTH, Minn. – The beginning of a new year could be the perfect time to stop one of your bad habits from happening any longer.

Staff at the American Lung Association say deciding to kick the butts can be a common New Year’s resolution, in fact, there are certain techniques proving to be more beneficial than others when trying to quit smoking.

When it comes to lighting up it proves to be easier for many than letting go.

“Keep trying, don’t give up on yourself,” said Pat McKone with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.

Experts say half of the people who smoke at any given time are truly trying to quit.

But, it can be difficult to stop smoking for good.

McKone says most importantly, you must have a plan.

It’s important to utilize resources in the community such as free counseling services at Essentia Health and FDA approved products like nicotine patches or gum.

“The days of cold turkey are over. The industry has really manufactured cigarettes so they’re much more addictive than our grandfathers, our fathers cigarettes saying it was my birthday and I quit,” said McKone.

Cigarettes now provide a much faster hit to your brain than they used to.

McKone says through her experience, the most effective methods are counseling with the help of those FDA products.

She says the cases where this plan is used typically result in more than half the people quitting.

“Smoking is an addictive behavior that you learned. People learn how to smoke, they practice, and they don’t just pick up a pack or two. So you have to learn and keep learning how to not smoke,” said McKone.

After you decide to put down the pack, after just 48 hours medical experts say you’ve reduced your risk for having a heart attack.

Another positive, you can start smelling better and even tasting more of your food.

The American Lung Association wants to remind folks this recent cold snap can also do damage to your lungs.

Cold, dry air can irritate the airways of people with asthma, COPD or bronchitis.

This can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Experts recommend protecting your nose and mouth with a scarf, monitor air quality, keep medications close and avoid wood-burning fireplaces.

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