October is a time to enjoy the change in seasons and may also usher in new routines and changes in habits. This autumn might be the perfect time to start your tobacco-free journey and the Ohio Department of Health wants to help!

Reasons to quit look different to everyone. Maybe it’s for your health. Using nicotine can cause cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and more. Quitting can decrease your risk of getting these diseases.

Perhaps it is for your family. Your family needs you, and quitting can help you to live a healthier, longer life with them.

Or maybe it is the cost. An average smoker spends $1,500 to $3,000 a year on cigarettes.

Many understand that smoking is dangerous to a person’s health but what has been more recently understood is that exposure to secondhand smoke also causes many of the same health problems.

Children are at a particularly high risk for health problems related to secondhand smoke. Babies can be impacted before and after birth. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome. Babies whose mothers are around secondhand smoke are more likely to have lower birth weights and can have more health problems than babies whose mothers were not exposed. Older children whose parents smoke get sick, typically with bronchitis and pneumonia, more often than children who are not exposed.

Ohio’s Smoke Free Workplace Act was implemented in 2006 and requires places of employment and public places to be smoke free. This provides a statewide minimum standard of protection from the health hazards associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. Many of Ohio’s local health departments have partnered with the Ohio Department of Health to help provide enforcement of the law and rules and want to assist those who want to kick the nicotine habit.

If you want to quit smoking or the use of other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is free and for everyone in Ohio. It’s also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is even a Pregnancy Program available for expecting mothers seeking support to quit tobacco use. Just call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to begin your tobacco-free journey.

Susan Rode

WIC health professional

Morrow County