INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As the American Cancer Society encourages people to quit smoking Thursday in its annual Great American Smokeout, health advocates aren’t only concerned about traditional cigarette smoking. They’re also concerned about electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes have been touted as less dangerous as cigarettes and a way for smokers to quit the real thing.
“More research is needed,” said Amy Jo Steinbruecker, spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society. “While e-cigarettes are, in the short term, almost certainly less harmful than cigarettes, there are concerns that they may create new tobacco users and reverse efforts that have made smoking socially unacceptable.”
Smoke-Free Indy will hold an open meeting on e-cigarettes Thursday night. A panel of experts will discuss the issue and take questions.
The number of high school students using e-cigarettes has tripled over the last three years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some states and local communities have banned smoking them in public. They’re already part of the public smoking ban Indianapolis passed in 2012.
Thursday’s meeting will be at Northwest High School, 5525 W. 34th St., from 6 to 7 p.m.
A doctor from the IU Simon Cancer Center spoke on Daybreak Thursday morning about how to quit smoking. Watch here:
The American Cancer Society provided these tips for people wanting to quit smoking:
- Don’t keep it a secret. Include your friends and family in your quitting process; they can offer much-needed support.
- You’re not alone. More and more people are trying to break free from cigarettes and there are lots of support options available. Many communities, employers, and health care organizations have free or low-cost counseling and support available to help you quit. Call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out what’s available in your area.
- Consider using medication to help you quit. There are prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms or even help to reduce the urge to smoke. You’ll want to talk to your doctor first, but some medicine could help.
- Dump the memories. Clear the places where you usually smoke of anything that reminds you of cigarettes – like lighters, ashtrays, or matches. Also ask other smokers not to smoke around you, and clean your house and car thoroughly to remove the smell of cigarettes.
- Avoid places where smokers gather. Go to the movies or other places where smoking is not allowed.
- Stay calm and stay busy. You may feel some nervous energy but it can be countered by physical and mental activities. Take long strolls and deep breaths of fresh air, and find things to keep your hands busy, like crossword puzzles or yard work. There are a lot of leaves on the ground at this time of year.
- Talk to your doctor. Before you begin any plan for quitting smoking you should check with your doctor to see what might be the best approach for you. Remember, quitting smoking is very personal and there isn’t one perfect method.
- When the urge to smoke strikes, do something else. If you feel a craving for a cigarette coming on, take a deep breath, count to 10 and then do something else. Call a supportive friend. Do brief exercises such as push-ups, walking up a flight of stairs, or touching your toes. Anything that will take your mind off your cravings.
- One will hurt. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they only have one cigarette it’s okay. But even that one smoke can get you back in the habit of smoking full time. Keeping a supply of oral substitutes like carrots, apples, raisins, or gum handy can help.
- Water, water everywhere. Drink lots of fluids to help curb cravings. Water is the best for this, and you’ll want to pass up on coffee and alcohol if they trigger your desire to smoke.
- Click here for more help.