World No Tobacco Day

It is just about the end of the May Wellness Challenge, but if you're still a smoker, this post is for you.  Whether you smoke a pack a day, go to bed with a dip in your mouth, or are only a casual smoker, the cost adds up--both financially and physically.  Considering Virginia's involvement in the tobacco industry throughout its history, many people here smoke and use chewing tobacco.  Growing up with two parents who have been smokers, I understand how hard it is to stop.  Over the years, many of my friends and family have struggled with their addiction to tobacco products (including both my mom and my husband--they both quit for good!).

a picture of Danny and his friend Trent at an outdoor concert in 2011
(just imagine how much more handsome these two would be without all that smoke)

Today is World No Tobacco Day.  According to the World Health Organization website, the point of the day is to "contribute to protecting present and future generations not only from the devastating health consequences due to tobacco, but also from the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke."  Whether it is chewing tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars, tobacco is terrible for your body and overall health.  If you smoke, it not only affects you, it also endangers those around you in the form of second-hand smoke.  The same organization claims that "Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for 10% of adult deaths worldwide."

In terms of what we can do, through World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization encourages all tobacco users to abstain from tobacco for 24 hours.  By doing this, users can help to bring attention to the issue of tobacco use around the world and the many corresponding health concerns.  It could even be the first step into quitting for good!

You've probably heard the famous quote usually attributed to Mark Twain*: "To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times."  This demonstrates just how difficult this challenge is for most people who use tobacco.  If you've tried to quit in the past, unsuccessfully, here are a few resources to help you make this important and life-saving change once and for all:

- HELPGUIDE.ORG outlines a plan to help tobacco users quit; it's called START.  (See it in full here.)  This page also contains other important information to assist in quitting tobacco.

S = Set a quit date.
T = Tell friends, family, and coworkers you plan to quit.
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

- The American Cancer Society explains why quitting is so difficult and provides steps to help people stop smoking.  With cancer prevention at the core, the American Cancer Society's focus is to help save lives through the cessation of smoking and prevention of health complications.

- is a campaign to expose "the truth(s)" of the tobacco industry.  Although pretty unapologetically aggressive, providing tobacco facts to people without making people feel small is the focus.

If you're not ready to quit just yet, try to go the day without tobacco for World No Tobacco Day.  After that, perhaps you will be in a good spot to evaluate whether this is something you're ready to do for yourself. 

Stay positive and go at your own pace!

If you've quit tobacco or have seen the struggle first-hand, please leave a comment below or on Facebook to encourage others to take this positive step towards health and a prolonged life.

* Attributed to Mark Twain in Coronet, Reader's Digest, in 1945--though according to Quote Investigator, the quote may not have been actually stated in those words in his lifetime.

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