This November, be a Quitter

October 30th, 2017

The enrollment process with Liberty HealthShare includes a review of applicant health for two main reasons: first, because we are a community united by our shared belief in God, we agree together to honor him by stewarding our bodies as the gifts they are. Second, as we share medical costs as a community, that stewardship of our bodies results in the reduction of avoidable medical expenses.

One of the lifestyle expectations we have for our members is that they will not engage in any kind of tobacco use. Those applicants who actively use tobacco at the time of enrollment will be placed in HealthTrac, our provisional program for those members who have certain pre-existing conditions that can be improved through lifestyle change. HealthTrac participation has a proven track record of helping members to improve their overall health while reducing their risk of serious disease.

From a young age, most of us have heard and seen warnings concerning the serious consequences of tobacco use, from lung disease to cancer to heart disease, not to mention many other side effects in smokers and their loved ones. Lung cancer is particularly concerning as it is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Most lung cancer is preventable and linked to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. It goes without saying that the easiest way to avoid this devastating disease is to avoid smoking altogether.

What you might not know is that quitting smoking at any point can have major health benefits over time. Even if someone has smoked for years, their risk of cancer and other serious disease drops drastically in the months and years after they quit. If you are a member who is currently on HealthTrac for tobacco use, you have already taken the admirable step of acknowledging the need to end your tobacco use for your health. If you are struggling, don't give up. You are not alone. Your HealthTrac coach will be happy to provide resources to assist you as you make this difficult but important change to your habits.

There are many other places where you can find helpful resources, for instance, on the Lung Cancer Prevention Page on the American Cancer Society website. You can also visit the website for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed every November. The site has numerous videos with inspiring stories of cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers. There's no time like the present to quit using tobacco but now could be especially timely as many people participate in this month of awareness.

If you are looking for a more specific target date, every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout event. For more information, visit the event webpage. This November 16th, we'd encourage you to take strength from knowing you are not alone as you plan to quit or, even better, as you quit and move forward, choosing better health for yourself and your loved ones.

This November, take a moment to think of those affected by lung cancer and, if you're a smoker, consider making the Great American Smokeout on November 16th your first day without tobacco. If you are a Liberty HealthShare member who has quit or is working toward that goal, we applaud you. We trust your participation in the HealthTrac program is yielding results and we can't wait to celebrate your success with you!