HAHRC BEATS: Tobacco: Tips to stop using today

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year about 443,000 people die from smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke. Another 8.6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, about 46.6 million U.S. adults and 3.6 million youth under the age of 18 use tobacco.

In Hood River County about 9% of adults use tobacco products. The 2012 Wellness Survey shows less than 5 percent of our high school kids have used tobacco in the last month.

Smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipes also have deadly consequences, including lung, larynx, esophageal and oral cancers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Whether you are a smoker or you are a non-smoker, there are health risks to consider. The Surgeon General states there is no safe level of tobacco use – period. There is also no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. This is because when you inhale second hand smoke you are inhaling many of the same toxins that the smoker inhales. These toxins lead to diseases.

Quit now!

Quitting can be hard. It can be easier if you have help. Here are some quitting tips:

Talk to your doctor about quitting.

n Check your insurance policy. If you have medical insurance, whether Oregon Health Plan, Medicare or private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, policies have different cessation benefits. They can include phone counseling, nicotine patches, other medications, a class or a support group.

Set a date and do it!

n Work exercise into your day. It will help to reduce those urges to use, even if you just take a short, brisk walk when you get a craving.

n Enlist your family and friends to support you.

n Use the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line provides free counseling to help you quit using tobacco. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitnow.net/oregon/

n Use the Spanish Quit Line: 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1.855.335356.92) or www.quitnow.net/oregonsp/

Great things happen when you quit!

n Within 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature of you feet and hands have returned to normal.

n Twelve hours after quitting your blood oxygen and carbon monoxide levels go back to normal.

n Twenty-four hours after quitting, anxieties have peaked in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

n You save a lot of money.

n The benefits continue as you begin living your life without tobacco.


Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. They promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change.

Belinda Ballah is the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families Tobacco Prevention Coordinator

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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