Written by Michelle Chen
At the hospital, 60-year-old Mr. Fong lays in bed. He is surrounded by family, but feels great pain from advanced lung cancer. His bones ache and he has little energy. He has no appetite to eat the food his grandchildren have brought. Short of breath, he can barely speak. Just from the look on his wife’s face, he regrets all the years he smoked.
There’s no question about it: smoking increases your chance of getting lung cancer. It not only hurts your lungs but also your heart, eyes, bones, and stomach. You put yourself at risk for serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and other cancers. When you smoke, you also harm your loved ones. Over time, the toxic fumes left in the air can cause cancer and asthma for those around you. Smoking in another room or by a window is not enough. Smoke can stay in hair, clothes, and even furniture. Children are especially prone to getting sick from secondhand smoke.
This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to learn about the risks of smoking and what you can do to stop lung cancer in its tracks. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting now is a big step towards better health. Here’s what you can do:
- Decide why you want to quit. People quit for many reasons—to improve their health, save money, or protect their family’s health. Remind yourself every day why you’re quitting.
- Pick a date to quit so you can commit. Avoid a day that may be stressful and when you may feel tempted to smoke. Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters by this day. If you plan to use medication, have it before your quit date.
- Come up with ways to cope. You may feel irritable, tired, or anxious when you stop smoking. Cope with these feelings by chewing gum or talking to a friend. Avoid people or places that might tempt you to smoke.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek support from your family, friends, coworkers, and quitlines. Talk with a counselor or provider about medication options.
At the Health Center, we can help patients quit or cut back on smoking:
- Charles B. Wang Community Health Center
Internal Medicine (Manhattan)
You can also get free patches and help from:
- Asian Americans for Equality
(212) 979-8988 (Chinese)
- Asian Smokers’ Quitline
- NY State Smokers’ Quitline
Nearly one in four Chinese and Asian American men in New York City currently smokes. To address this serious health issue, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Chinese American Medical Society, Chinese American Independent Practice Association, Asian Americans for Equality and NYU Langone Medical Center are working together to educate the community about the dangers of smoking and to help smokers quit. This project is made possible with funding from the RCHN Community Health Foundation. Stay tuned for more tips and resources on quitting.
Michelle Chen is a Health Educator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Barnard College. She is interested in the intersection of public health and Asian American activism.