Quit for Good
Last month, we introduced Parents Quit for Good, the magazine's partnership with the American Legacy Foundation to help moms and dads stop smoking. If you've already thrown away your last pack, or if you've set a quit date and are ready to move ahead, congratulations on making this important commitment to your family's health. If you -- or your spouse -- are still on the fence, it's not too late to read Part 1 of our series and join our online community of parents who are encouraging each other along the way.
Of course, the first weeks of quitting -- when ex-smokers have physical withdrawal symptoms -- are the toughest. If you haven't decided to use medication (nicotine replacement or one of the two prescription drugs that can increase your odds of success), you may want to consider it now. "If you've seen other smokers quit cold turkey, you might assume that you should too," says Richard Hurt, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and director of its Nicotine Dependence Center. "But smoking is a neurobiological problem. If quitting were simply a matter of willpower, 80 percent of smokers would stop." You can also benefit from counseling, which is so effective that a recent update of federal guidelines calls it "a critical part of smoking cessation." The nationwide 800-QUIT-NOW phone service, which automatically routes you to your state's quitline, makes it easier than ever to get free one-on-one guidance. The more support you get, the better.