November is Great American Smokeout Month and next Thursday is the annual Great American Smokeout. No, it’s not a BBQ event. This is serious stuff. Not that BBQ isn’t serious. But.....
- We (that’s all of us, smokers or not) spend $193 billion on smoking every year. Roughly half of that is smoking related health care costs. The other half is the loss of productivity due to illness and premature death. (figures from CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US.
There is some good news. From 1965 to 2010, cigarette smoking among adults in the United States decreased from 42.4% to 19.3%. In order to accomplish this, society’s view of smoking had to undergo a radical change. Corporate greed had to be challenged and checked. Media campaigns challenged the prevailing imagery of smokers as cowboy heroes and glamorous models. Eventually, smoke-free policies became the norm and the cost of tobacco products became a more effective barrier.
We still have a long way to go. The Great American Smokeout Website has lots of helpful tools for people who are trying to quit and those committed to helping them. The website offers these four mentoring statements designed to support and comfort those who are quitting:
- Giving up tobacco is an uphill climb. But we’ll get there together.
- Daytime, nighttime, anytime. I’m here when you need me.
- Quitting isn’t easy and you have stuck by me even on the toughest days. Thank you for caring about me and my health.
- Today is the first day of my tobacco-free life. I’ll need your help to make sure it’s not the last.
The highlighted pronouns indicate another party involved in the process. But who is it? I’m assuming it’s a mentor/friend/family member who is committed to helping. But what if you don’t have someone like that? Or what if you’ve found even the closest human relationship inadequate to loosen the grip of addiction? What then?
Here’s a true story written by an addicted smoker who found that “God’s power is far greater than any addiction, no matter how persistent.”