The Woodward News

Local News

November 20, 2013

Thursday the day to stop smoking

Woodward, Okla. — Everybody knows next Thursday is "Turkey Day," but for smokers this Thursday could be your "cold turkey day."

That's because Thursday, Nov. 21 is being recognized as the Great American Smokeout, which is a national campaign by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to encourage the nearly 44 million Americans who smoke to make a plan to quit.

Kaye Cortez is a nurse practitioner who began practicing at Woodward Regional Hospital in October.

Cortez said that smoking leads to a number of serious health concerns, including the risk of death.

"We talk about smoking with our patients at every visit because it is so important," she said.  "And the numbers involved are truly scary; smoking causes more deaths than alcohol, AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders and suicides combined."

But Cortez said there is a way for smokers to avoid adding to that statistic, by making a decision to quit.

"It doesn't matter how old you are, when you started or how long you've been smoking, quitting is always better," she said.

And the benefits of quitting can be seen right away, as well as over time, she said.

"The American Cancer Society has this neat tool on their website that tells how your body begins to recover after quitting smoking," Cortez said.  "In just 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure go down.  In 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood drop to normal.  In 2 to 3 months your circulation and lung function get better."

In addition, she said, the longer you quit, the more you reduce your risk of dying from smoking-related diseases.

"At only one year, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of what it would be if you had continued to smoke," she said.

For more information about the health benefits of quitting smoking, Cortez said to visit the ACS Great American Smokeout website at

The Smokeout website also offers other resources to help smokers in making their plan to quit, including a quiz to discover if you need help to quit and a guide to quitting smoking, that offers information about why you should quit and ways to be successful in quitting.

Another tool available at is a downloadable countdown clock, which the website says will give you "daily tips right on your desktop that will help you prepare to quit" as it counts down to your chosen quit day.

But the American Cancer Society website is only one online resource for smokers looking to quit, Cortez said.

"The Mayo Clinic, WebMD, and American Heart Association all have online things that talk about quitting smoking," she said. "For rural places like out here, this type of online access is a good thing because a lot of times in rural areas we're limited in resources."

Another resource is the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, which offers free assistance by phone as well as online for those looking to stop smoking.  The Helpline's phone number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or to register for help online, visit

According to the Helpline's website, "Most participants are eligible for a free 2-week Starter Kit of nicotine patches or gum with registration."

Cortez said that smokers can also always speak with their physicians about quitting.

"They can talk with their healthcare providers about additional things they can offer to help you quit," she said.

While the sheer number of websites with information about quitting smoking show that there are many different ways to quit, Cortez offered a few basic tips for anyone looking to stop smoking:

• Learn new stress management techniques.  "A lot of people just need to learn new skills because often they smoke because they're stressed," she said, noting, "Exercise is always a good alternative."

• Avoid your smoking triggers.  For example, Cortez said, if you feel like smoking when you drink alcohol, then avoid alcohol, or if you typically have a cigarette after lunch, don't bring your cigarettes with you when you go to lunch.  She said that "staying away from other smokers and just staying busy," can also be quite helpful in the quest to quit.

• Ask for help.  Cortez said that having support from family and friends is often key for those trying to quit.  Also because nicotine is so addictive, she said some people may not be able to quit cold turkey and need other alternatives to quit gradually.  "There's medication you can take to help you quit or you can use nicotine patches or gums that taper down the nicotine levels," she said.

• Don't give up.  "Most people try several times before they do quit successfully.  So if you fail, don't give up; it's normal," Cortez said.  "Just think about the reason you started smoking again and keep that in mind when you make your next attempt to try to avoid that situation again."

Text Only
Local News
  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tangier Reunion set for Saturday, Sunday

    When Barbara (Allison) Merwin thinks back to the years she spent in the classrooms of Tangier High School, it takes a few moments for her to recall how school life was 60 years ago.

    July 23, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has educators worried

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With the Legislature's repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they're concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 state which have implemented the standards.

    July 22, 2014

  • web1.jpg Travelers win Connie Mack state championship

    Down 2-0 and down to their final three outs, the Traveler Majors delivered a championship rally in the seventh inning Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • Hearing set on rezoning

    City commissioners will tackle rezoning items and a licensing agreement amendment Monday evening at the regularly scheduled meeting of the City of Woodward and Woodward Municipal Authority.

    July 20, 2014