On Dec. 1, Australia enacted one of the toughest cigarette-marketing laws in the world. All cigarettes sold there now are sold in dull brown packages showing graphic images of cancer-ridden lungs and mouths and other troubling health effects of smoking.
Smokers in the U.S. may not have these bold reminders but probably feel the consequences of their habit every day. Shortness of breath, hoarseness and increased susceptibility to illness are just a few ways tobacco affects a person’s daily life. These symptoms grow worse throughout time, leading to severe health problems including emphysema, stroke and heart disease. Secondhand smoke can be just as detrimental to children and nonsmoking adults.
Many cigarette smokers may want to quit but feel daunted by the challenge of ending their addiction, but support is available. Free Quit Kits with cessation information and resources are available in the lobbies of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, 940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101, in Steamboat and 745 Russell St. in Craig.
Additional support, including cessation counseling and text message support, soon will be available through the VNA’s Community Health Centers. Help also is available (for English- and Spanish-speaking individuals) through the Colorado QuitLine, a free program providing coaching, tips and nicotine patches for individuals determined to quit cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Visit www.coquitline.org or call 1-800-784-8669. Make 2013 the year you quit tobacco.
Director of Wellness and Aging Services at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association