Oklahomans Strive To Stop Smoking In 2011

Saturday, January 1st 2011, 7:20 pm
By: News On 6

Jamie McGriff, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Quitting smoking is one of the top New Year's resolutions for many Oklahomans, but it's not an easy one.

The Oklahoma Health Department says smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the state.

President Obama is one of thousands of Americans who's trying to kick the habit.

The motivation may be different, but the goal is probably the same; to live healthier in 2011.

"For president Obama being in the position he's in, kind of keeping it a secret until he had some success under his belt was paramount," Psychotherapist Kim Beair said.

Beair offers workshops for people wanting to quit smoking. She says smoking can affect more than just the lungs. Problems can plague every organ of your body.

"People will end up coming up with cancer of all different organs and they can tie it directly back to the smoking," Beair said.

According to the Oklahoma Health Department, there are 650,000 adults who smoke in the state. Last year more than half of those tried to quit. The state health department says 6,200 Oklahoma smokers died in 2009. And breaking down those numbers; that means every day roughly 16 Oklahomans die from smoking.

Beair says for some smokers "just knowing" about the dangers isn't enough. She says for a smoker, the brain will play tricks to drag a person into relapse while they're trying to quit.

"I can do this anytime, if your brain is telling you, you have to have that cigarette to relax, you have to have that cigarette to wake up in the morning..." Beair said.

Beair says addictive thinking is just one of the many challenges a smoker will face.

But all is not lost. Making the decision to stop is a step in the right direction.

"That's why we have to be patient with people who are trying to give up the habit because does provide a lot of things that are hard to give up," Beair said.

If you're looking to quit smoking and need some extra motivation you can call the Oklahoma Tobacco Help Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1800-784-8669).