You want to quit smoking, and now is the time to do it. That’s great news for you and those who are close to you. Help is available in many forms to assist you in making this life-change a reality. Like any change, the most important first step is that you need to be committed to making it happen. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the first thing you should do is, “Throw away all your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.” In the first few days, “You will feel the urge to smoke, but it usually passes in two to three minutes.”

Valerie St. Claire, of Healing Hypnosis in Auburn, says that the use of hypnosis can “change thoughts from ‘I really want a cigarette’ to more positive thoughts of ‘I really want to stop smoking.'” According to information found on The Healing Hypnosis Web site,, “Through hypnosis, those old beliefs, attitudes, habits, and old emotions can be accessed and replaced through suggestions that are more consistent with a person’s current life pattern and desires.” Establishing a quit date as a goal helps to make it attainable and hypnosis can be used to reinforce that goal.

C. Andi Locke Mears, of Calm Healthworks, a holistic wellness center in Auburn, takes the approach that an overall healing is key to making lifelong changes. The body stores information that becomes a type of loop. If you always do the same things, you will always get the same results. “Changing what we eat is key to achieving health goals.” You need to balance biochemical support with emotional support. The body is a fantastic machine that makes use of what we put into it. When you clean out the unhealthy aspects, and replace them with healthy alternatives, the body responds in a positive manner, leading to a more healthy outlook and feeling of well being.

Healthy Androscoggin in Lewiston offers programs to help people stop smoking. One of the biggest times for people to quit is right around the New Year. Healthy Androscoggin is promoting a Quit & Win program which offers cash incentives as prizes until February 25 to people who are successful in their efforts. Sarah Mayberry, Tobacco Coordinator, says, “Quitting smoking is not easy to do. People who participate in programs have a higher success rate, up to 40% compared to about 10% for those who try it on their own, and we are here to help.” The services are provided free of charge and includes weekly support group meetings on Thursday evenings from 6-7 p.m. at St Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

The Maine Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-207-1230 also offers advice for those who want to quit. “It’s free, confidential and it really works.” The first step is always up to you. Quit smoking now. You can do it, and there is a wide array of help out there to help make you successful.

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