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In the last couple of years, around Memorial weekend, my father has taken to reminiscing about his days in the Navy when he was stationed on a minesweeper in the Pacific. We always end up looking through old photos and one of my favorites is of he and his buddies taking a break on the ship’s deck.
Some of the guys are sitting on a bench, but in the foreground is my father Frank – 22 years old, rail thin and muscled, tan and smiling, and like most of his friends in the photo, with a cigarette dangling from his lips. He smoked for about 40 years, two packs a day. I can’t say for sure, but I think they were Camels and I’m betting they were unfiltered.
When Dad was in his late 50s he had an aneurysm burst and was taken by life flight to the hospital for emergency surgery. After that, quitting was easy and he hasn’t smoked for the past 30 years. So we were surprised when he started to have trouble breathing and was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
According to the COPD Alliance, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death and the most common cause is cigarette smoking. They say that 24 million Americans have the disease and about half are undiagnosed. This makes me crazy. This is a preventable disease. Maybe not entirely, but mostly. So if you smoke I want to ask you to think about something – for yourself, for your kids, for your spouse or partner —is now the time to quit?
At HELPGUIDE.org you’ll find some information and support, but I also want to say– we care and we’re here to help. Write and let us know how we can support you. If you are a Community Medical Centers' employee and you want to take the first step right now for you or a member of your family – reply to this blog with the words “I Will Start” in the subject line and remember to list your name. Margie Hill RN, will reach out to you to bring you up-to-speed on the FREE benefits you’ll receive, including reimbursement for nicotine patches and gum, and brand or generic smoking aids like Chantix. . Please START!
S = Set a quit date.
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit