On November 15th, Oklahoma County smokers are encouraged to put down their cigarettes for a day, or a lifetime, for the Great American Smokeout (GASO). This annual event is celebrated across the country to encourage smokers to find their reason to quit, set their quit date and take the steps toward a smoke free and healthier life.
Being hooked on nicotine, the chemical in cigarettes that makes them so addictive, is a hard habit to break, but there are many personal benefits to quitting that make it worth it. When you quit smoking, you will breathe better, decrease your cancer and heart disease risk, save money, etc. Additionally, you will help reduce the exposure to toxins and carcinogens for those around you by decreasing their exposure to second and third hand smoke.
Those things alone are worth the effort it takes to quit, but did you know that quitting might also help save your pet's life? The same second and third hand smoke that can harm those around you will also affect your pets. Our pets inhale the same air we do; therefore, when they are in an environment where they are breathing in the smoke, they are exposed to over 7000 chemicals released from a burning cigarette.
Furthermore, pets can also be exposed to dangerous tobacco residue (third hand smoke) through the carpets, dust, or it is even absorbed into their skin or fur. Even when owners go outside to smoke, pets are exposed to the toxins that remain on their owners' clothes.
Fortunately, free help is available for those interested in quitting. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free resource available to help Oklahoma residents make a Quit Plan and get the support they need to quit using tobacco products for not only the GASO, but hopefully for life. "It’s never too late to quit, and it's important to never give up trying, even if you have tried many times before," said Michelle Lessell, Oklahoma County TSET Healthy Living Program grantee.
Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore all the free services and resources available to Oklahomans. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram.