Sex-Appeal of Abstinence from Tobacco

Sex-Appeal of Abstinence from Tobacco

Years of leading Tobacco Free programs for Holland Hospital’s Center for Good Health have adjusted my high hopes of graduating big classes of “quitters” to the reality that just a trickle will show up ready to do the legwork required to abstain from tobacco. At a recent brainstorming session to tackle new programming ideas, one co-worker voiced the truthful blow: "quitting smoking is just not sexy!”

It’s understandable when one considers the seemingly unsexy choice to “give up” the stimulating energy boost, the calming zen, the boredom beater, the social ticket to peer pressure acceptance, the after-dinner-treat, the alcohol/cigarette duo, the emotional lift or escape—not to mention fighting off the 7,000-plus controlling chemicals contained in tobacco smoke which the cigarette industry spends billions of R&D and marketing dollars on to keep addicts happy and hooked. In fact, it’s truly remarkable that any mere mortal escapes the seductive cycle of nicotine addiction!  

But they do. Small conveniences like breathing, improved sexual function, and fighting off cancers and other tobacco-related medical complications have given many of my Tobacco Free class participants the desire and motivation to quit. Saving money; having nice smelling hair, breath and clothes; gaining back the sensuality of taste, smell and touch; being a good role model to children and grandchildren; gaining victory over a controlling habit—these are the appealing reasons why my class “quitters” choose to abstain from tobacco.

Getting in touch with sensitive, raw feelings (no longer numbed away) can be a hard process, but the emotional rewards are exhilarating. I’m blessed to have witnessed participants regain a peaceful and enthusiastic sense of pride from making one positive change in their lives; and one good change leads to another.

Class size does not matter. Victory is personal yet sweeter if shared with a supportive group. Center for Good Health offers Tobacco Free group classes throughout the year, but also offers one-on-one Wellness Coaching to partner with those wanting personal support. Not everyone is ready to quit: those who begin the stages of change by contemplating their need to abstain and show up ready to make lifestyle changes are most likely to succeed.

Since my co-worker shared that “ah-hah” moment, I’ve envisioned alluring ad campaigns designed to show the sensual side of simply living and breathing one more day…and that's pretty sexy, don’t you think? 

  • Tina Vande Guchte, CMES, CPT

    Tina Vande Guchte, CMES, CPT

    Medical experts like Tina Vande Guchte set Holland Hospital’s Healthy Life educational offerings apart. With a degree in exercise science, Tina is our certified medical exercise specialist (CMES) and wellness coach, and serves on Holland Hospital’s Lifestyle Medicine team.

    For 30 years and counting, Tina has been empowering individuals to achieve their goals through lifestyle and behavior changes. An ironman triathlete who finds joy in mentoring and motivating others, her specialties include personal training, diabetes exercise, strength after breast cancer, building deep core, sleep science and living tobacco free.

    Tina Vande Guchte, CMES, CPT

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