January 18 is the start of “Quit Week” in Oklahoma. It’s a campaign that encourages Oklahomans across the state to quit using tobacco, for good.

“We’re addicted. You know, those of us that have used tobacco, we’re addicted, and it’s hard to quit,” Sandy Foster, the program director for CCMH’s TSET healthy living program, said.

But, quitting is possible. Foster says smoking tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.

“So it kills one out of three people that smoke, and then those that don’t die from it are going to have some kind of health consequences. In order to live a long, healthy life, it’s important not to use tobacco,” Foster said.

She said many people who first start smoking say they don’t need to stop because they can at any time.

“And if you quit then, you probably can, but the longer you smoke the more addicted or the longer you use that substance, which is nicotine the more addicted you’re going to become and the harder it is going to be to quit.”

The encouragement to quit this week isn’t just on smoking, but also spit tobacco and e-cigarettes.

“Especially with our youth,” Foster said. “It’s such a big thing right now, so it’s important for us to have those resources out there for them that are looking to quit.”

Foster said it’s important to talk to your health care provider if you want to quit because they have resources to help you. She said the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline can also help.

“They offer free two weeks patches, gum or lozenges when you enroll in that program,” Foster said. “Your chances increase if you’ll do the counseling, cessation, those nicotine replacement therapies then your chances of quitting are higher.”

She said don’t let your age stop you from quitting.

“If you are using some type of tobacco, you’re never too old to quit. Take that step, make that first step, make that plan , talk to your healthcare provider, get those resources, and you’ll be successful.”

If you’d like to learn more about quitting or get help, go to oktoquit.org or okhelpline.com.

Quit Week ends on the January 25.

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