Make quitting smoking your New Year’s resolution. Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert want you to follow these tips from the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program to help you quit for the New Year:

1. Write down your reasons for quitting: List the reasons you want to quit and think of the benefits.
2. Find support: The help and encouragement from supportive friends or family members can get you through the rough spots.
3. Eat smart: To minimize possible weight gain when quitting, keep healthful, low fat, low calorie foods and sugar free candies available. Reach for fruits and raw vegetables when you crave a cigarette.
4. Drink water: Water will help flush out the chemicals and nicotine from your system, and help you through a craving. Sip cold water slowly or through a straw.
5. Get your sleep: Try to get eight hours of sleep every night. When you’re tired, your cravings will seem stronger and you’ll have less energy to deal with them.
6. Get moving: If you already have a daily physical activity routine, great, if not, choose something you enjoy doing. For example, walking is a low impact activity that is good for most people and it helps fight the urge to smoke. Go for a 15-minute walk when you’re feeling edgy; you’ll come back refreshed and relaxed – physical activity releases “feel-good” hormones in your body.
7. Praise yourself: Your determination to quit smoking is built one day at a time. Every smoke-free day makes you stronger. Take time to think about the value of what you’re doing, pat yourself on the back and say “good job!”
8. Learn about the dangers of smoking: If you’re like most smokers, you avoid looking at the damage smoking causes to yourself and those around you.
9. Let it go: Most cravings last three to five minutes. Think of them as signs that your body is healing, then quickly replace the urge with something positive to do.
10. Don’t ruin your quit attempt: Don’t start feeling sorry that you can’t smoke. Realize you are choosing not to smoke because you want to be free of this addiction. Quitting smoking is a gift you give yourself, not a sacrifice.
11. Be patient: Give yourself the gift of time and patience. You need to undo old patterns and replace them with newer, healthier choices.
12. Don’t let fear stop you: Every smoker knows the fear that comes the day before your quit date arrives. Put It Out Rockland advises: “Don’t let fear stop you before you try.” You can get through the craving! The rewards of quitting are well worth the effort it takes to quit.

“The single most important step you can take to improve your health and quality of life is to quit smoking,” said County Executive Day. “For me, that day of reckoning was December 29th, 1994, and I have not looked back since. I know it is not easy to quit, but you’ll enjoy life more and there will be many more years for your loved ones to enjoy them with you.”

“Start off the New Year with better health by quitting smoking,” Dr. Ruppert said. Get help to successfully quit smoking: call the Health Department’s Put It Out Rockland Quit Smoking Program at 845-364-2651 for one-on-one help with quitting and low-cost nicotine replacement products that can double your chances of being successful, or call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at (866) NY-QUITS.

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