The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cigarette smoking is the lowest it has ever been in the US, with only 14% of adults saying they smoke tobacco products. Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) smokers want to stop smoking, and over half (55.4%) have made a quit attempt in the past year. This is what the end of an epidemic looks like. But we’re not out of the woods yet.
Smoking Still Stinks
Tobacco smoking is still by far the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country, and thousands of teenagers still pick it up every day, so it’s no surprise that we have a nationwide event dedicated to raising awareness. The Great American Smokeout is sponsored by the American Cancer Association and sets aside November 21st as a national day to encourage smokers of all ages to make cessation plans or start quitting.
Quitting at Work the Healthy Way
If you’re trying to quit, applause! It’s not easy, especially when dealing with the stresses of a career. Here are some tips to help keep cravings under control while at work, taken from our own employees who have successfully given up tobacco:
- Use a quitting app – There are plenty of great quitting apps like Smoke Free that can help you easily set deadlines and track progress with quitting, also providing a wealth of support and data on relapses and dealing with stressful situations. Quickly checking in with the app throughout the day can help maintain focus and keep an eye on the long-term health benefits.
- Remember the three D’s – Nicotine cravings are powerful but short-lived, and part of quitting is learning how to overcome them. The three D’s of quitting smoking – Delay, Distract, and Drink Water – are three reliable core strategies for outsmarting the cravings. Simply do one of these three things for 5-7 minutes (about the length of an average nic-fit) and the craving will subside.
- Reach for a book – Cravings can be managed with any type of distraction, but one employee insists that bringing a book to work is the simplest way. Each time you feel the need to take a puff, pick up the book and read a few pages until it subsides. At least that way you can brag to friends about all the books you’ve finished.
- Micro meditation – Chemical addiction is often closely tied to anxiety-related issues, which is why many people find success with a “micro” medication practice that can be implemented throughout the day. Quick 3-minute meditation sessions here and there can lower overall anxiety levels and make cravings more manageable. There are several apps available, like Headspace, with specialized guided sessions for busy folks.
Be a Part of the Solution
Quitting smoking is especially difficult and requires strong support and positive reinforcement to succeed. The average smoker will try to quit 6-7 times before it sticks. Stressful work environments and long hours can make it even more difficult – the CDC found that adults who had experienced serious psychological distress were about 20% more likely to smoke. These days, the smokers in your organization are most likely wanting to quit, so use the opportunity of the Great American Smokeout to give them the resources and moral support they need.
Find Great American Smokeout event tools, flyers, and more at the ACA Resource Site.