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Eye on Health: Quitting smoking

You might be surprised to learn there are now more ex-smokers in the United States than smokers.

Bill Karn and Pat Lee-Bauer are ex-smokers. Lee-Bauer smoked for 45 years until she had a stroke in August. Karn smoked for 30 years and gave it up when his granddaughter was born.

"Quit. Do it. I look at young people today, and I'd wish at 20 years of age that I had an opportunity to have stopped, not started, stopped," said Karn.

"What it's going to end up being is, I'm going to be incapacitated in some form, and I'm going to become a burden to somebody, and I have the responsibility not to do that, and that's why I quit," Lee-Bauer said.

Research shows tobacco effects every system in the body, and when people quit, good things happen.

"There is no single thing an individual can do to better their health than to quit smoking," said Mark Potuck.

As a tobacco education specialist with Goshen Health, Potuck helps people quit. He points to using some type of nicotine replacement therapy to help you start, patches, gum, even lozanges, and his weekly smoking cessation support group is one way to help kick the habit..

"All of these things, their effectiveness are doubled when you couple it with a support group or individual counseling," Potuck said.

Karn and Lee-Bauer attend the weekly sessions on Tuesday night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Goshen Heart and Vascular Center. It's one of many support groups in the area you can reach out to.

Potuck says you never have to go it alone. There's a hotline 1-800-Quit Now, websites such as becomeanex.org, and there are even apps to help quit smoking..

"I always tell people never quit trying to quit," Potuck said.

Remember, for the best chance of quitting and staying a non-smoker you need to know what your options are, what you're up against and where to go for help.

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