Smokers urged to quit in the New Year

Published 11:14 pm Saturday, January 4, 2014

Resolutions will come and go, but one local health leader says Selma residents attempting to end their use of tobacco products should think of others as well as themselves when that resolution gets tough.

Niko Phillips, Tobacco Prevention and Control coordinator with the Dallas County Health Department, said the benefits of quitting tobacco products are felt by many more than the person that makes the change.

“If you’re a smoker, quit for the people around you,” Phillips said. “There is no filter for secondhand smoke. It’s just dangerous.”

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Phillips said the dangers of second-hand smoke are widespread and are not limited to one age group.

“Children exposed to secondhand smoke become sick with ear infections, bronchitis, asthma attacks and more,” Phillips said. “Adults are at increased risks of heart disease and lung cancer, too.”

Phillips said that of the 7,000 toxic chemicals found in cigarettes, 70 are known to cause cancer. She added that quitting improves the length and quality of the former user’s life as well.

“As soon as you quit, your body begins to repair the damage,” Phillips said. “Of course, it is best to quit early in life, but even someone who quits later in life will improve their health.”

Phillips offered a few tips for how someone looking to quit tobacco products could give himself or herself a better chance to succeed.

“Start a journal, write down why you want to quit,” Phillips said. “Make it public that you intend to quit, so your friends can hold you accountable and support you during your experience. And finally, set a date to quit.”

Phillips said tobacco-users looking to quit have several outlets for helping them do just that.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health offers the Alabama Tobacco Quitline at 1-800- QUIT-NOW,” Phillips said. “And a cessation phone and online service is available at to help people quit tobacco use.”
Phillips said participants who are medically eligible could receive a two-week supply of nicotine patches for free.