Smoking is a slow killer

Support is there for those willing to quit in Agassiz

  • Jan. 12, 2012 1:00 p.m.

“I have time to quit.”

“Cancer doesn’t run in my family.”

“Bad things happen to other people.”

“I can quit any time I want to.”

These are some of the things people say to put up the mental wall of denial between their smoking habit and the harsh reality that is being inflicted with every puff of cigarette smoke. And, because smoking is typically a slow killer, the framework of the wall of denial gets supported for years and years. It is only when people start to understand that cigarettes are not our buddies but horrific killers that the wall of denial starts to crumble and smoking becomes a fearful, anxious activity. This is when most smokers will start to think seriously about finding a way to quit smoking for good.

Quitting is not easy. Nicotine, present in the tobacco leaf, is one of the main ingredients in tobacco. It is a central nervous system stimulant, causing chemical and biological changes in the brain. Although it is less “dramatic” than heroin or cocaine, the strength of the addiction is just as powerful. It is a “reinforcing” drug, which means that users desire the drug – often in increasingly greater amounts.

So, when many smokers try to quit, they can experience symptoms of nicotine withdrawal like irritability, frustration, anger, anxiety, restlessness, and an increased appetite. These symptoms are worst for the first few days after stopping smoking. This is when smokers are most likely to start smoking again. Therefore, it is important for smokers to find positive ways to get through this short period of time. Smokers who do will have a much better chance of quitting smoking for good.

To help you quit smoking, there are many valuable resources you can access. One of these is QuitNow.ca. It is a free, online, quit-smoking program available around the clock to any B.C. resident. Highlights of the website include expert counsellors to provide you a personalized plan, tools to track your progress, statistics, quitting tips, a journal to record your progress, support from others sharing their stories, and a directory of other local and provincial quit smoking resources.

QuitNow also provides a confidential, free phone helpline. Like the online service, it is also available around the clock and staffed by specially trained counsellors who are there to listen and to provide support and guidance. The toll free phone number is 1-877-455-2233. In addition to counselling, a personalized program will be developed based on your needs. Assistance is provided in more than 130 languages and there is a TTY service for the deaf and hearing impaired.

In the Agassiz area, the medical professionals in the Agassiz Community Health Centre are available to provide one-to-one help for you. An appointment may be made by telephoning 604-703-2030.

Unless they quit, up to half of all smokers will die from their smoking – most of them before their 70th birthday. Many others will suffer the consequences of more than two dozen debilitating and potentially life-threatening smoking related diseases and conditions.

But, by quitting now, your health will start to improve immediately. After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease. After eight hours, carbon  monoxide levels drop and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal. After only one day, the likelihood of a heart attack decreases. After two weeks, circulation and lung function improve. And, after one year, your risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half. Within 10-15 years, your chances of dying from lung cancer or heart attack decrease significantly.

The message is clear. Time is not on your side but it could be. Now is the time to quit.

Local help available

If you are a person who has made a resolution to stop smoking, you have taken a significant step to prolong your life. Your community health professionals are available to provide the needed supports to help you make the transition to a smoke-free life. On Thursday, January 19, there will be an Agassiz Community Lung Health Day at the Cheam Village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Professionals will be on site to provide information about smoking cessation as well as information about other lung diseases. Also available will be printed information for you to take home.

Submitted by Agassiz Community Health

Just Posted

Community efforts raise money for service dog to help Agassiz boy stay calm, happy

Riley, a two-year-old Lhasa Apso-Chihuahua cross has made a huge difference in Chase Frayn’s life

WATCH: Today, we remember: community members visit Agassiz cenotaph on Remembrance Day

Royal Canadian Legion members, veterans, first responders, residents gather to pay their respects

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Agassiz Harrison school bus driver starts petition to get seatbelts on school buses

Petition come on the tail of Transport Canada announcement to investigate school bus data

Hope man says he faced racial discrimination from security guards at Chilliwack Library

Mike Wilson, 66, said he was minding his own business when he was led out by three security guards

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

18-year-old to hospital after shots fired in White Rock

Police investigating early-morning incident

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

‘Weird Al’ brings Strings Attached tour to Lower Mainland next summer

Legendary musical satirist performs with full symphony orchestra

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Most Read