A Smoke-Free Lifestyle Leads to Improved Health

E-cigarettes do not help with quitting tobacco. The CDC reported that people who use e-cigarettes to try and quit end up using both e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. Similar to other tobacco products, smokeless tobacco products increase the risk of cancer and other health problems. This includes cancer in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and other things such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, heart disease, and receding gums. According to Truth Initiative, in 2016, 19 percent of adults in Alaska smoked cigarettes and in 2017, 10.9 percent of high school students smoked at least one a day in the past 30 days. An additional 15.7 percent of students used electronic cigarettes and 9 percent used smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco has 3,000 chemical ingredients, with over 25 being known to cause cancer.

Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention after one month of not smoking tobacco, your skin color and tone improve and your energy increases? How about that after one year, chances of having a heart attack are the same as if you’ve never smoked? After five years, risk of lung cancer drops by half and risk of stroke drops to the same as a non-smoker. Each day is another step to not only a healthier body, but also a healthier lifestyle.

Quitting smoking is tough, but there are things that can help! One thing you can do is make a plan. Making a plan could include setting a goal for yourself every week or month and rewarding yourself with something when you meet your goal. Another step you can take is to exercise. Exercising could consist of activities like running, weight lifting, bike riding, walks, hikes, swimming, yoga, and much more. A third way to help quit smoking is surround yourself with non-smokers and others who will encourage and support you in achieving your goals.

Becoming aware of the toll on your body when you use tobacco is beneficial to know at a young age. Southcentral Foundation is always improving and expanding services in alignment with the voice of customer-owners. The results of SCF’s 2018 Health Needs Assessment identify alcohol, drug, and tobacco treatment and cessation as a top health priority. Specific needs identified included increased education and awareness, learning circles and support groups, and programs to support quitting tobacco and achieving long-term wellness. SCF offers a variety of services to help reduce drug and tobacco use and alcoholism in order to help achieve SCF’s Mission: working together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. Programs offered at SCF include Four Directions Outpatient Treatment Center, Dena A Coy, learning circles, and certified tobacco treatment specialists that help with counseling, follow-up phone calls, quit plans, nicotine replacement therapies, and more.

For more information, schedule an appoint with your primary care provider to discuss the many available options. If you need additional support, call Health Education at (907) 729-2689.

by Riley Stewman

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