Great American Smokeout
Nov. 16 is the Great American Smokeout. Join thousands across the country taking their first step toward a tobacco-free life. Visit the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center lobby or Anchorage Native Primary Care Center lobby on Nov. 16 for a quit tobacco event. Learn ways to improve your health by quitting tobacco.
Nicotine is the addictive drug found in tobacco. People who use tobacco products quickly become addicted to nicotine and many have a very hard time quitting. Research suggests nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. It only takes about 10 seconds for the nicotine from one puff of smoke to reach the brain and once delivered to the brain it causes the release of dopamine, a hormone that creates a heightened sense of alertness and contentment. Over time, the brain cells of people who use tobacco products are changed to expect these regular bursts of dopamine when using these products. When someone quits, these brain changes cause strong cravings for more nicotine. That is one of the reasons why quitting tobacco can be so difficult, but not impossible. Over time, the brain can be “rewired” to not crave nicotine.
If you are interested in quitting tobacco, talk to your provider, or call the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center Wellness Center in Wasilla at (907) 631-7630, or Southcentral Foundation Health Education in Anchorage at (907) 729-2689.
E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking and is not an FDA approved aid to quitting tobacco. E-cigarettes contain toxins and still deliver harmful chemicals. There are at least 60 chemical compounds in e-liquids and aerosols produced from e-cigarettes, including ultrafine particles, heavy metals (tin, lead, and nickel), diacetyl (linked to lung disease), other cancer-causing compounds, and nicotine.
More research is needed to determine whether e-cigarette products are effective for quitting smoking and to better understand the health effects of e-cigarette products. However, there is evidence that clearly shows how FDA-approved medications are a safe and effective way to help people quit tobacco, especially when combined with counseling.
If you’re interested in quitting tobacco, talk to your provider, or call the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla at (907) 631-7630, or Southcentral Foundation Health Education in Anchorage at (907) 729-2689.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although secondhand smoke exposure among children has fallen over the past 15 years, children are still more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than adults. About 4 out of 10 U.S. children aged 3–11 years (40.6%) are exposed to secondhand smoke. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke still breathe in the same dangerous chemicals that smokers inhale and because their bodies are still developing, infants and young children are especially vulnerable to the poisons in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke exposure may increase the likelihood of developing health problems such as:
- Frequent sickness. Studies show older children whose parents smoke get sick more often. Their lungs grow less than children who do not breathe secondhand smoke, and they get more bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Wheezing and coughing.
- Asthma attacks. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack. A child who is around secondhand smoke may have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger.
- Ear infections. Children whose parents or caregivers smoke around them may be prone to more ear infections due to having fluid in their ears more often than normal resulting in the need to place ear tubes for drainage.
Taking steps to ensure children are not exposed to secondhand smoke can reduce risks of serious health problems.
If you’re interested in quitting tobacco, talk to your provider, or call the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center Wellness Center in Wasilla at (907) 631-7630, or Southcentral Foundation Health Education in Anchorage at (907) 729-2689.
Break The Cycle of Generational Smoking
Children and teens develop healthier lifestyles when not exposed to secondhand smoke. Research has shown parents are a powerful influence on their children. Most people who smoke began when they were teenagers. Statistics show that children are almost twice as likely to use tobacco as adults if their parents use tobacco.
“13% of adolescents whose parent never smoked said they had smoked at least one cigarette- Among those teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette, 5% were dependent if their parent never smoked. Compared to, 38% of teens whose parent were dependent on nicotine had smoked at least one cigarette- Among those teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette, 15% were dependent if their parent was dependent.” (Kandel et al., 2015).
To help prevent future generations from starting to smoke, it is imperative to break the cycle by leading and encouraging a tobacco-free lifestyle. Future generations deserve a strong and healthy future. If you use tobacco, consider quitting. Being tobacco free is a legacy worth passing on.
Southcentral Foundation wants to support you in becoming the best version of yourself by becoming and staying tobacco free. Let us help break the cycle of generational tobacco use to support children in being safe from the harmful effects of tobacco. The Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center Quit Tobacco Program offers one-on-one counseling, follow up services, acupuncture, and access to nicotine replacement therapy. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center Wellness Center at (907) 631-7630 in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, or Southcentral Foundation Health Education at (907) 729-2689 in Anchorage.
How Your Body Heals After Quitting Tobacco
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Alaska. Each year, smoking is linked to an estimated 700 deaths and $575 million in health care costs in Alaska. Quitting tobacco is the most important step you can take to improve your health. Studies have shown that it takes the average person about seven attempts to quit before they become tobacco free. Quitting isn’t easy and it takes time and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day.
Benefits of quitting tobacco include:
- Decreased risk of heart attack
- Improved lung function significantly
- Decreased risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervical cancers
- Decreased risk of erectile dysfunction
- Improved taste of food
- Improved sense of smell
- Breath, hair, and clothes smell better
- Teeth and fingernails stop yellowing
- Helps save money
- Keeps friends and family safe from secondhand and thirdhand smoke
- Set a good example for the next generation and for those who might need help quitting
- Improved self-confidence
- Healthier lifestyle
Follow the link to learn about Southcentral Foundation’s Quit Tobacco Program.
4201 Tudor Centre Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Wellness Center
1001 S. Knik-Goose Bay Rd
Wasilla, AK 99654
7 a.m.-6 p.m.