Secondhand smoke is linked to influenza complications, bronchitis, pneumonia, wheezing, coughing, increased ear infections and more frequent and severe asthma attacks. Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide. In this country alone, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking or secondhand smoke exposure each year.
Make a New Year’s resolution to protect your children’s health from the risks of secondhand smoke by pledging to make your home and car smoke-free. To take a smoke free pledge to protect your children from the dangers of secondhand go to www.elpasocountyhealth.org. Insist that family members and caregivers do not smoke around your children. Opening a window, moving to another room or using a fan or air freshener are not enough to protect your children from the dangerous toxins found in secondhand smoke.
No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. Smoke from one cigarette can linger in the air for hours, even if you can’t smell it; it’s harmful to your children. Do not smoke within your home or your vehicle; make them safe zones to protect your children from secondhand smoke. If you must smoke, choose to smoke outside.
When you are ready to quit, there are several helpful programs and options. First, speak with your medical care provider to determine the best option for you. There are multiple resources for tobacco cessation, including the Colorado QuitLine, nicotine replacement therapies, prescription medications and behavioral programs.
Since 2002 the Colorado QuitLine has helped thousands of Colorado residents stop using tobacco. This FREE telephone and online service can get you connected with special tools, a support team of coaches, research-based information, and a community of others trying to become tobacco free. These coaches will help you create a personalized plan to quit smoking, and offer you tips to deal with stress and other triggers, such as fighting smoking cravings and coping with irritability. Call now and see if you are eligible for nicotine patches or gum. This service is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Give it a try! Call the QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-784-8669. The Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership is a grant funding program of El Paso County Public Health.