Call it grit if you will. Some folks might say gumption. But one common trait among the people who make up our community is a resourceful practicality that helps us, every day, to overcome the challenges that go with work, worry, life and living in the Great Plains. We’re well-known for our work ethic, which is why we, the folks who make up the team at your local hospital, are asking you to show that determination this month and do one thing:

Quit using tobacco.

November’s the month for the Great American Smokeout, and quitting smoking just makes sense. It’s among the best things you can do for your overall health because it’s a habit that harms nearly every organ in your body.

Quitting is not easy – it takes work. But that work is worth it when you think of what goes with the habit:

  • Life-threatening or chronic conditions including heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke, lung cancer and COPD
  • Heighten threats from other cancers, including of the esophagus, colon and bladder

Avera joins the American Cancer Society in encouraging smokers to make a plan to quit for good on Nov. 21. By quitting — even for one day — smokers take an important step toward a healthier life.

The many benefits of stopping this habit — saving money and preventing disease — cannot start until you or someone you love quits the cycle of tobacco addiction. Nicotine is as compelling an addiction as heroin or cocaine, with a physical dependency as well as emotional allures.

We’re here to help. Your primary care practitioner can recommend programs, nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications that may assist you. All Midwestern states offer “quit lines” with free coaching and cessation medication. You can call us and we can help you reach out to these resources, or you can call 1-800-QUITNOW (800-784-8669) to get started. If you’re covered by Avera Health Plans, it offers an eight-week tobacco cessation program with weekly group sessions, and it’s free.

Support in a group setting can really make a difference, but just like every patient is different, so too is every journey away from tobacco use. It is hard labor, but we’re hard-working people, and we take care of one another.

So this month, before the holiday hubbub begins, let’s come together to help ourselves – and our loved ones – kick the habit for good, and leave tobacco use in the past.

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