Kick the butts habit

by David Hurwitz
Stripes Korea

With studies showing people are 10 times more likely to succeed in behavior change when acting on a resolution, New Year’s may be the best time to start
quitting tobacco. And the Defense Department has just the right tools to help people follow through on that New Year’s resolution.

These Tricare resources include DOD’s “Quit Tobacco – Make Everyone Proud” campaign. The campaign’s website features Train2Quit, an online support system that uses interactive quit tools, self-assessment questionnaires, quizzes and other activities.

The support system shows service members how to create a customizable quit plan with a calendar to track progress and learn how to beat cravings, overcome weight gain and cope with the effects of nicotine withdrawal. The site also offers live help with links to personal quit coaches, available seven days a week, 24 hours a day to get answers to questions about quitting tobacco and how to stay tobacco free.

The website also features a New Year’s resolutions page ( where individuals can post their resolution to quit tobacco. Individuals can send e-cards of their resolution to quit tobacco, and family and friends also can send e-cards of encouragement to those trying to quit. Free New Year’s smoking cessation materials are available for health professionals and other installation leaders to order or download to help promote events. The site also features an “I made a resolution to quit tobacco” badge that can be downloaded to a Facebook page.

Users of the DOD website can sign up to receive quit tips via text messages or personal widget downloads. The site provides medication information, news articles, podcasts, RSS feeds, special monthly features and more

All non-Medicare eligible beneficiaries can receive assistance with smoking cessation through Tricare’s tollfree smoking help line. Toll-free telephone lines are available in each Tricare region offering around-the-clock support.

Consider these 4 steps to quitting

1. THINK ABOUT IT: Decide whether to stop using tobacco. Make a list of all your reasons for quitting; the benefits of each must outweigh the downsides of quitting. Think about setbacks; few people quit for life after just one try. List situations that might tempt you to start again; write down ways to deal with them. (Congratulations! If you’ve read this far, you’ve already began the first step.)

2. PREPARE TO QUIT: Work up to it slowly. It’s important to quit when you feel ready to succeed. Consider your triggers, what causes urges and how to avoid them. Set a quit date within the next 30 days. Tell others you plan to quite; ask for support. Don’t use other tobacco products. Consider using medicines (patches, gum, etc.).

3. QUITTING: You’ll need willpower, especially the first few weeks. Remember, nicotine withdrawal won’t last forever. Most nicotine cravings subside in 3 to 5 minutes. When you get an urge to smoke or chew, do something like drink water, exercise or eat a healthy snack. Focus on your reasons for quitting. Talk to someone for support. Avoid places and situations that trigger urges.

4. STAYING QUIT: Cravings are inevitable. Don’t do it. While using “quitting” strategies, notice and focus on the increased benefits of being tobacco free. Make a list of them and refer to it whenever compelled to relapse. Consider ways to deal with situations that might trigger a relapse. You can’t have one puff and remain smokeless. If you relapse, remember it’s just one of many battles in a war to be tobacco free. Try again.

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