Great American Smokeout, Nov. 15th

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Donovan Williams
The City County Health District will take part in the 41st Great American Smokeout on November 15th. Since 1977, it is the event that encourages putting the cigarette out for good, to quit smoking for the benefit of better health. Everyone in Valley City will be able to reach out and get the help they deserve.
Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Heather Schwehr had a lot to say about the benefits of quitting smoking.
"I personally think it's one of the hardest addictions to quit. Some say it's even harder than quitting heroin," Schwehr said. "I think people have tried and tried and fail. Then they ask 'Well why should I try again?'"
As far as the symptoms that the people trying to quit should be prepared for, Schwehr said that they can often feel easily irritable, stressed, or even restless. It is very much like the old saying, "It gets worse before it gets better." Still, the benefits are substantial.
Smoking is known to cause health challenges like cancer, heart attack, and stroke. But after just the first 20 minutes of quitting, the heart rate drops back to normal. Carbon Monoxide levels drop back to normal just 12 hours after quitting. Then lung function improves over the span of 3 months, possibly even 2 weeks. The shortness of breathe decreases. After a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is reduced. After 5 years, the risk of stroke is reduced. And after 10 years, the chance of cancer, which could appear in several places just from smoking alone, is reduced.
With smoking a typical cigarette, cancer can appear even in the bladder or liver area. There is age-related macular degeneration, and things like excessive wrinkles that are sometimes irreversible. In males, it can even cause erectile dysfunction. There are all sorts of other things such as tuberculosis, diabetes, arthritis, all caused by smoking.
Despite all of this, Schwehr still believes it is never too late to quit.
"Every time we try to give up something, almost every part of our being tries to reject that change," said Schwehr. She says what has really changed for the better over the years is the Nicotine Replacement Therapies, the availability of needed pharmaceuticals, and more present support systems promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle. For those who cannot afford the Nicotine Replacement Therapy, Schwehr revealed that there were vouchers for that, giving people more of a chance in progress. Schwehr says that depending on the smoker, a Nicotine Patch might not be enough. If that doesn't work, a lot of people give up right away. Some people require multiple resources like the gum or possibly multiple patches and for them to slowly ween off of that.
Schwehr also wanted to make it clear that vaping is not a safe form of smoking, it's just as dangerous.
"There is no safe level of smoking," Schwehr said. "You want to gradually reduce smoking and the be done with it."
Especially with vaping, a huge percentage of our youth is targeted through different flavors. For further information, people are encouraged to call Schwehr at 701-845-8518 or to try the American Cancer Society help line at 800-227-2345. There is always a chance for smokers to win this battle for the betterment of their lives and Schwehr hopes to see many people at the City County Health District on the 15th.