“Growing up, all my friends smoked, and I had easy access to people willing to buy cigarettes for me. I started smoking regularly by age fourteen. I quit during my pregnancy but had no plan to stay smoke-free. I started up again soon after I gave birth and kept smoking until one eveniing out when I smoked so many cigarettes I had a “cigarette hangover.” I felt so terrible that I decided right then and there to never smoke again. My quit day was March 29, 1992. I twas tempted to smoke when I was out with friends but I decided that smoking was no longer an option for me. I struggled with weight gain. I started to walk daily to manage my cravings and keep my weight under control. Walking increased my physical stamina and I got better at playing the sports I loved — softball and volleyball. Anyone can quit but you have to want it and make up your mind to do it. Walking started me on my path to quitting smoking and better health. This year, I will celebrate 25 years as a non-smoker and daily walker!”
Many former smokers experience weight gain soon after quitting, with the average person gaining seven to ten pounds. Smoking suppresses appetite, and after quitting, food often tastes better and can be a replacement for satisfying those cigarette cravings. Building healthy eating habits to manage weight along with daily physical activity can increase metabolism and help reduce withdrawal symptoms while quitting smoking.
For support with quitting tobacco and building healthy habits, Alaska citizens may enroll with Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-784-8669 or www.alaskaquitline.com .