Today is November 18, 2021

Published 11:32 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

Great American Smoke Out

Smoking is a deadly habit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. Smoking also cause more deaths each year than alcohol use, illegal drug use, human immunodeficiency virus, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents combined. Statistics Canada indicates that around 100 Canadians die of smoking-related illnesses each day.

Despite the knowledge that both cigarette smoking and products such as pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and vaping pens have serious health risks, many people feel powerless to quit. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk for heart and lung diseases, reduce the chances for low birth weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome and improve one’s life expectancy.

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Each time a person resists a tobacco craving, he or she is one step closer to quitting smoking. Around 90 percent of those who try to quit do so without any help from aids, according to WebMD. But going cold turkey may not be the best path to success, as only around 5 to 7 percent of people who try this route maintain the momentum. However, research published in 2010 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, which compared abrupt quitting to methods designed to gradually quite, found that neither method was necessarily more successful than the other. Individuals who are attempting to quit may need to go through some trial and error before ultimately finding the cessation method that works for them.

Involving others in your efforts might be a smart approach. Doing so creates a sense of accountability and ensures a support network is always there.

Changes in behavior and thinking also can be necessary. The Mayo Clinic suggests avoiding triggers that have previously stimulated a desire to smoke. Some common triggers include being at parties or bars, stressful situations, post-meal smoking sessions, or commutes. Changing routines can help break the habit of smoking.

Replacement products, whether they contain nicotine or not, can give the mouth something to do and stave off cravings. Many people find chewing gum, sucking on a straw or munching on carrots helps. A variety of nicotine replacement products also may help people quit.

Staying busy and distracting the mind can keep a person away from cigarettes. Enrolling in fitness classes, starting a club or engaging in a hobby or craft can divert attention away from smoking – especially if these activities are not part of one’s normal routine.

People who want to quit smoking can be successful, even if they experience a little trial and error on their way to kicking tobacco for good.


Apple Cider Day

When hosting friends and family at home, it’s understandable that hosts direct so much of their focus to the foods they plan to serve. The main course is often the focal point and most memorable aspect of a dinner party, and that’s true whether the get-together is a backyard barbecue, a holiday meal with the family or a formal affair with colleagues.

Food might be a focal point, but guests also will need something to drink. Traditional spirits like wine and cocktails are the standard, but hosts who want to get a little creative should not hesitate to do so. When choosing a special beverage, timing is everything. Guests wil want to cool down on warm summer evenings, so something cold and refreshing can make for the perfect signature cocktail. When hosting on nights when the mercury has dropped, a warm beverage can heat up guests in a matter of minutes. On such nights, hosts can serve this version of “Hot Mulled (Sherried) Apple Cider” courtesy of Laurey Masterton’s “The Fresh Honey Cookbook” (Storey). One added benefit to Masterton’s recipe is it can produce a welcoming winter aroma, helping hosts establish a warm ambiance for the festivities.

Hot Mulled (Sherried) Apple Cider

Serves 16

1 gallon apple cider

1 orange, unpeeled, cut into slices

1/4 cup whole cloves

4 sticks cinnamon

1/4 cup honey, preferably cranberry honey

1 cup sherry (optional)

1. Combine the cider, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon, and honey in a large pot over medium heat. If you are picky about things floating in your cider, make a little bundle out of cheesecloth and place the cinnamon and cloves inside before adding to the cider. I like to chew on cloves, so I just toss everything in. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer over low heat for an hour or so to spread these lovely winter aromas around your home.

2. If you’re serving it to adults, add the sherry. It might make everyone want to go sledding!