Butting out in the New Year a smart idea


We have the knowledge, the resources, tools, money, information and programs to keep everyone from lighting up that first cigarette or keeping them from smoking again, yet, it continues to be a problem today.

If the saying ‘seeing is believing’ was true then there would not be a single smoker among us. There are pamphlets and presentations and television commercials to tell us the effects of smoking, and if not that, many Canadians have seen first hand someone who has suffered as a result of smoking, whether it’s emphysema or lung cancer.

With the new year here, it can be assumed that many Canadians, Albertans and Ponoka residents have made the resolution to quit smoking.

Jan. 18 to 24 is National Non-Smoking Week which is a great time to kick the habit and to find out how you can better your health and the health around you.

The theme for National Non-Smoking Week is ‘What have you got to lose?’ National Non-Smoking Week has been going on every year on the third week in January for 30 years.

The goal of the week is to educate people on the dangers of smoking and to prevent people from lighting up that first cigarette. It also focuses on promoting the right of the individuals to breathe in clean air that is not polluted by tobacco smoke and helping people quit smoking.

Alberta is providing a number of resources to help those who want to quit. The website to visit is www.albertaquits.ca. It is a place for those who smoke to communicate with others who have quit smoking. There are tips on how to stick to your quitting plan in order to reach your set goal.

Perseverence and patience are key to quitting and there may more than likely be mood swings and withdrawal symptoms but if you stick them out, quitting will be a major step closer to you.

There are pamphlets and information that can be picked up at the Ponoka General Hospital, the David Thompson Health Region building and other places around Ponoka. There are other people in Ponoka who have quit smoking and would be more than happy to share their methods of quitting. The tools are there to help people quit, they are without excuse.

Everyone knows smoking causes different cancers, diseases and other problems. They know it causes the elasticity in your skin decrease, yellow teeth, bad breath, yellow fingers, etc. and there are still people smoking.

There is now a ‘new’ study out about third hand smoke. It is another reason to quit smoking according to professionals and researchers. The study seemed, to me, to be a waste of time. It is common sense that the smell on your clothes, fingers, etc. from smoking would contain carcinogens and other things that are harmful. Even so, it has been said that this may be a bigger incentive for parents to quit. Since they know now that even smoking outside, away from your children could still be harmful to them when you step back inside, they are hoping more parents will butt out.

I know that people who smoke have been given a bad rap at times. They may be labeled, people badger them to quit, nag about their habits, and in some cases look down at them because of that white stick in their mouths. The cigarette should not define who they are.

It is a difficult habit to quit, it controls your schedule, stress, moods, boredom, etc. but taking it out of your life is incredibly more beneficial than facing heat from friends and family, health problems and wasteful spending on cartons and packs of cigarettes. There are no reasons to keep smoking, everything points to not doing it. With the help of local and provincial resources and family and friends, it is more than possible to stop lighting up and beginning the year with a healthy and valuable start.