On February 26, the Baltimore City Council approved a citywide ban on smoking that will prohibit the activity in bars in restaurants. In the past, we have questioned the wisdom of this measure, and continue to feel that such a ban is anathema to American ideals of civil liberty and ought to be outside the purview of government. However, what's done is done and, come next year, your preferred watering hole will be as smoke-free as an iron lung.
That means that, if you're a smoker, now is probably a good time to quit. Of course, it's always the right time to stop smoking, but maybe the city just provided you with a little more incentive.
For many, quitting is no mean feat. The number of methods can be daunting enough to serve as their own deterrent. A sizable number of products intended to help you quit are actually sold by the tobacco companies, so you would probably be right not to trust in their efficacy either. Check online resources, such as the Web site of the American Cancer Society, for an explanation of which quitting aids are most likely to work. Some tools do work, and the best you can do for yourself is to become informed.
Quitting is most difficult for those who spend a lot of time with other smokers. If you are a smoker and someone you know is trying to quit, then, for their sake, you should cease smoking around them. A smoker attempting to quit among others who smoke often has trouble overcoming the temptation presented by the raft of tobacco surrounding them. It's up to you give them a fighting chance.
The University is also able to help you. The Student Health and Wellness Center is a good resource for those wondering about the quitting process, side effects such as depression and weight gain, and how to stay off the cigs.
One benefit of quitting smoking that is not often recognized is that doing so presents an opportunity to exercise some will power. We live in a society that doesn't much value will power, hence the constant bombardment of advertising messages intended to subvert that faculty. But you can assert yourself. You can change yourself and, in so doing, affirm your unique capacity as a human being to overcome forces acting against you. That, if nothing else, feels pretty good.
One final note for those who are struggling to do what is right for their health: it gets easier. Those first days, even weeks, might be physically demanding and emotionally draining. Harrowing times, to be sure. But that will change. Just think about how easy it is for a non-smoker to reject a cigarette. Soon, you too will be in that position.
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