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Dear Editor: It’s common during this time of year for people to think about positive changes we can make in the new year. If you’re a tobacco user and are considering your New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to make a plan to go tobacco free in 2015.

There are many reasons to quit smoking or using tobacco, including reduced coronary heart disease risk within one to two years of quitting, and a reduced risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

You’ll be in good company by quitting. In early December, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released data showing that 82 percent of Wisconsinites are smoke free — a record for the state.

Quitting tobacco use won’t be easy, but it is definitely worth the effort. Here are some quit tips to help you meet your New Year’s resolution:

First, pick a quit date, then notify your friends and family so they can offer support along the way. Next, identify your smoking triggers and develop coping strategies. Finally, set up rewards for reaching quit milestones.

Free help is available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. Since 2001, the Quit Line has fielded over 200,000 calls. If you’re ready to go tobacco free, consider giving them a call at 800-QUIT NOW.

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Ryan Sheahan

coordinator, Tobacco Free Columbia Dane County Coalition

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