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Published on November 14, 2014

I quit smoking!

Kicking the Habit

You’ve just eaten a wonderful steak dinner. What’s next? If you’re a smoker, the end of a good meal may trigger a cigarette craving. If you’re trying to quit, one of the keys is knowing your triggers and how to work around them.

Quitting smoking is best for your overall good health. Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, and can lead to life-threatening or chronic conditions including heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, COPD and more. That’s why Avera supports the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 20.

The American Cancer Society marks the third Thursday of November each year to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit for good or quit smoking for that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers take an important step toward a healthier life.

Everyone knows the benefits of quitting tobacco — it saves money and can prevent a number of chronic conditions. But breaking the cycle of tobacco addiction still can be a struggle. Nicotine is a drug that is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically dependent on and emotionally addicted to nicotine.

Helpful resources exist for both the emotional and physical aspects of nicotine addiction. The following resources are available:

  • Your primary care practitioner can recommend programs, nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications.
  • The South Dakota QuitLine, 1-866-SD-QUITS (1-866-737-8487), offers free coaching and free cessation medication. Learn more at sdquitline.com.
  • Avera Corporate Health Services offers smoking cessation support groups and health coaching. To learn more, call 605-322-3875.
  • Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota offers tobacco counseling. Learn more by calling 605-977-7000.

Avera Health Plans offers an eight-week tobacco cessation program that includes weekly group sessions at no expense to health plan members.

I recently worked with a construction company — an industry known for high tobacco use — to help employees quit. A major component of the Avera Health Plans program was the support group setting.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

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