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Can the Holidays be the Right Time to Quit Smoking? NY Quitline Officials Think so.

Smoking Cessation Roswell Park Patch and Coffee.jpg
RoswellPark.org
Smoking cessatin aids such as nicotine patches can make attempts to quit more successful. NY Quitline officials say a plan involving medication and coaching can give a New Year's resolution a better chance.

The holiday season can bring a lot of joy, but for may it also includes a lot of stress. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is trying to encourage tobacco users not to handle that stress by smoking. In fact, it might be a good time to quit. Outreach Director Paula Celestino says tobacco addiction is driven by nicotine which can allows the person to think they feel calm while smoking, which makes it hard to quit.

“The holidays are very stressful. And although the vast majority of tobacco users want to quit smoking, it is the stress of ‘this isn’t a good time, I can’t do it right now,’ or it’s the stress that causes relapse.”

In fact, smoking often just satisfies the anxiety of nicotine and doesn’t really reduce stress. Celestino has seen many people try repeatedly to quit smoking, only to start up again. And that can add to more pressure for the next attempt.

She knows many people use New Year’s as a time to start new habits – or break old ones. That can work, as long as the resolution comes with a concrete plan.

“When a tobacco user goes on the journey of quitting smoking combining some kind of support, like a coach, a doctor, or a friend and family, along with medication are going to increase the chances the most of being a successful quitter.”

She explains the coaches interview the tobacco user looking to quit to find out what the main triggers are for smoking to try and eliminate them. They might find routine cigarettes, such as after dinner or when on the phone, that can be easily eliminated as part of cessation. They also encourage drinking a glass of water or taking deep breaths instead of having a cigarette. Celestino adds many people slip-up in their attempts to quit.

“The whole thing about quitting is really about relapse prevention.  We quit for an hour; we quit for a day; we quit for a week.  Take it a craving at a time, a step at a time, and if you slip up, get right back on track.  Take a look at what made you slip.  Get a little more prepared for those situations in the future.  Don’t beat yourself up, and move forward with your next try.”

NY Quitline infographic.jpg
nysmokefree.com/NewYear
The NY Quitline has steps to help people make their next attempt, or a New Year's resolution, to quit smoking more successful.

The State Department of Health and Roswell Park have created a Smokers Quitline to provide quit coaches and to develop a plan. The Quitline can be reached at 866-N-Y-Quits or at the website nysmokefree.com

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.