A new year starts tomorrow and that means it's an opportunity for a new start on a variety of lifestyle choices you may have been thinking about changing.
For people who smoke, the new year may be enough to give a kick-start to quitting and committing to a healthier life.
The First District Health Unit in Minot will be offering their Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the First District Health Unit. It's a one-session "crash course" designed to give people the information, motivation and tools needed to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. The class is offered free of charge and is confidential.
In this submitted photo, two adolescent girls are shown smoking. The First District Health Unit in Minot is offering their Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class on Thursday for people who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
Bonnie Riely, tobacco cessation coordinator at First District Health Unit, said the class is offered on the last Thursday of each month and there will also be another session of Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class offered on Jan. 30.
"It's a really good time because people are wanting to be healthy in the new year," she added. "It's the time of year when people think about being healthy."
Also, if people aren't ready to quit smoking at the beginning of the month, there's another session at the end of the month, Riely said.
At the Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class, new medications that are available will be discussed, as well as options that help with smoking cessation that people don't know about, Riely said. There will also be mention of ND Quits, a web-based, telephone and mobile program that provides counseling and support options. ND Quits can also include a two-month supply of nicotine replacement products.
"Quitting smoking is so stressful that it's really important for people to have support," Riely added.
Other topics that will be discussed in the session will include education on smoking cessation, an introduction to the ND Quits program, triggers that keep people using tobacco, slips and relapses, education about the addiction process and skills to conquer tobacco addiction.
"Tobacco is usually the first addiction people have and the last one they let go of," Riely said. "It's so addictive. Smoking is more addictive than cocaine or heroin."
One topic Riely wanted to touch on is that electronic cigarettes are not a cessation aid and have no regulation on what may be in them. If people are trying to quit smoking, she added, they need to come to the class instead of smoking electronic cigarettes.
Electronic cigarette use doubled in middle and high school age kids and adult smokes from 2011 to 2012, Riely said. Electronic cigarettes are also expensive, they fall apart, you don't know what's in them and the long-term side effects will take decades to come out, she continued.
Attendance at the Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class typically depends on the season, Riely said. Nine people have already signed up for the session at the Washburn clinic on Jan. 7, she added. The Kick Start Tobacco Quit Class has been offered for the past five years.
People who have attended the session in the past have had good success with it, Riely said, but sometimes it takes more than one time.
"It's so wonderful to see people be successful and have a healthy, long life," she added.
Some of the tools needed in order to quit smoking include medication and support. Riely said people should plan ahead for two weeks because they will want to clean their house and car before quitting so that it doesn't cause a trigger effect. People will also want to drink a lot of water in order to get all of the toxins out of their body, she added. "But medicine and support are a big deal."
A person quitting smoking will have to change his or her lifestyle, Riely said. The person will have to think of what he or she will do differently if the behavior is to smoke a cigarette and drink a cup of coffee in the morning, she continued.
On a personal note, Riely said that when she was a smoker, she started experiencing sharp chest pains and wheezing, but didn't want to blame those symptoms on smoking. Once she quit, though, those symptoms disappeared.
"I like the freedom after I quit," she added. "It took awhile, but I have a completely healthier lifestyle."
Everyone is different in their motivation for quitting smoking, Riely said, with a lot of it having to do with their children or grandchildren and their health.
"A lot of times it takes something serious like having a heart attack or stroke before quitting," she added. "But it's never too late to quit, even if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."