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World No Tobacco Day

May 31st is World No Tobacco Day 2012. If you’re still puffing away, in spite of all the dire health warnings about smoking, consider making this the moment you commit to kicking the habit. Do it for yourself, and for those you love. Obviously, they want you to stay well and live long, but remember that you are also putting all those around you at risk by exposing them to secondhand smoke.

We know that quitting isn’t easy. Nicotine is extremely addictive – more so even than heroin. Consider getting help from a support group. Also, talk to your doctor about cessation aids. And keep in mind the good news that over time your lungs will completely repair themselves, making you no more prone to disease than if you had never taken a single drag on a cigarette in your life!

Even better news is that Medicare covers smoking cessation costs. Here are the facts from the Meidcare.gov web site: “Medicare will cover up to 8 face-to-face visits during a 12-month period. These visits must be provided by a qualified doctor or other Medicare-recognized practitioner.You pay nothing for the counseling sessions.”

As of now, however, cessation programs are not covered by many insurance policies. Yet the American Medical Association is determined to change that. Peter W. Carmel, M.D., President of AMA had this to say in a statement: “As we recognize the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day today, the AMA reaffirms our commitment to promoting a tobacco-free America . . . Now is not the time for states to cut funding for tobacco cessation programs. The limited availability of these proven cessation programs and insurance coverage for them hinders efforts to curb tobacco use. Every smoker should have access to the help they need to kick the habit for good. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Helping smokers quit and reducing secondhand smoke exposure saves lives, reduces health problems associated with tobacco-related chronic diseases and cancers, and shrinks tobacco-related health care costs.”

We hope you’re now convinced that World Tobacco Day is the perfect time to make the most important lifestyle change of all: Crushing those weeds! Here’s a link to the Guide to Quitting Smoking from Cancer.org. Also, here’s the number for the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitline: Toll free 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669). TTY users call 1-800-332-8615. You can do it!

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