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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OKLAHOMA SMOKERS WHO QUIT FOR ONE DAY CAN QUIT FOR LIFE
OKLAHOMA CITY (November 15, 2010) - On Nov. 18, thousands of Oklahoma tobacco users will find themselves right where Cindy Lea and Shane Sellers were in 2008 – wanting to quit smoking and looking for the right time to do it. Using the Great American Smokeout as their quit date, the Tahlequah, Okla., couple gave up their cigarettes for an hour, then a day, and now, they have been smoke-free for two years.
“At $5-a-day between us, we were just tired of the expense,” said Cindy Lea. “And, the health risks with smoking are really sobering. When you see visuals of the lungs of people who’ve spent a lifetime smoking, it’s just awful to think that may be happening to you or someone you love. Plus, Shane’s kids always wanted us to quit and when we did, they were super proud of us. Their support really made it all worth doing.”
November 18 marks the 35th Anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Oklahomans who are ready to quit tobacco for a day or for life are encouraged to make a plan and get support. Support can be a spouse, friends, your physician or professional quit coaches from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Free coaching, patches or gum are available.
For Cindy Lea and Shane, they used each other as support. They announced their intention to quit to a public audience through their jobs as radio personalities in Tahlequah at Lakes Country 102.1.
“We made a public announcement that we were going to quit and we set our date for the Great American Smokeout,” said Cindy Lea. “We prepared in advance and made sure we were in a good place both mentally and physically, since that is often a key hurdle that prevents you from quitting.”
Almost immediately after quitting, smokers start to experience the benefits of being tobacco free. According to the American Cancer Society, within 20 minutes of quitting, blood pressure decreases and pulse rate drops. Within a day, oxygen level in blood returns to normal and the chance of a heart attack decreases significantly. Other important health benefits follow and within a year of quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is lowered to half of that of a smoker.
“I won’t lie. That first month was a bit of a rollercoaster, but we did whatever it took to keep our minds off smoking,” said Cindy Lea. “We took walks to relieve our stress levels and I even took a straw and cut it in half and “smoked” it if I really needed to do something with my hands.”
When asked about the economic benefits of quitting smoking, Cindy Lea and Shane were very happy with the results.
ABOUT THE GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT
The Helpline is funded by TSET (Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust), the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the Helpline served more than 37,000 Oklahomans.
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TSET, a constitutional endowment trust committed to improving the health of the Oklahomans, was created by an overwhelming majority vote of the people in 2000. The foresight of Oklahoma voters is beginning to make a substantial impact through community grants, in combination with the other research and programs funded by TSET, including the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Funding from TSET will be available to create better lives through better health for generations to come. To learn more go to: www.tset.ok.gov.