Tobacco Free Florida week focuses on mental health

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 10:39 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Department of Health is trying to lower the number of people using tobacco.

May 8 through the 14 is “Tobacco Free Florida” week.

The theme this year is “mental health equals mental wealth: overcoming the influences of tobacco on the mind.”

Healthpoint Medical Group nurse practitioner Crystal McVay said smoking to relieve stress can only make your addiction worse.

“You get rebound stress and anxiety from smoking,” McVay said. “So you may feel better for the moment and then as soon as that gets out of your system you’re going to have worsening stress and anxiety after that.”

The CDC says about “40 million American adults smoke cigarettes and an estimated 2.55 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.”

The consequences of using these products shouldn’t be taken lightly.

There are solutions, though.

“You can exercise, do deep breathing, yoga, and meditation,” McVay said.

Alternative outlets are also available if your doctor deems it necessary.

“There’s medication you can use but we obviously use that as a last line of treatment,” McVay said.

Breaking addiction doesn’t come easy for many folks, though.

McVay said everyone’s pathway to breaking addiction is different.

“That addiction is probably one of the hardest addictions there is to break,” McVay said.

McVay said people can cut back or quit cold turkey as possible solutions.

Contacting your doctor is a first line of defense in overcoming it.

You can find the Tobacco Free Florida link here.

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