Reduce Your Risk

Discover disease overviews for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Learn how early detection improves the prognosis of disease and simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk. See how cigarette smoking affects your health and kick the cigarette habit for good.

Heart Disease

     Am I at risk for heart disease?

     Is it a heart attack?

     Is it a stroke?

     How can I manage my blood pressure?

     How can I manage my cholesterol?

     How should I eat for a healthy heart?


     Am I at risk for cancer?

     How can I reduce my risk for cancer?

     What should I eat to reduce my risk for cancer?

     How can I reduce my risk for skin cancer?

Type 2 Diabetes

     Am I at risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

     What should I eat to help manage diabetes?


     Am I at risk for Osteoporosis?

     How can I reduce my risk for Osteoporosis?


     How does smoking affect my health?

     It is never too late to quit smoking

     How can I kick the cigarette habit?


What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It includes diseases and conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as,high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), heart attack, and heart failure.

What causes heart disease?

There are many factors that contribute to your risk for heart disease. Some factors cannot be controlled while others can. The danger of a heart attack or stroke increases with the number of risk factors.

Risk factors you cannot control

Age.  The risk for heart disease increases as you get older.

Family history.  If you have an immediate family member who had a heart attack or heart disease before age 50, you may be at increased risk.

Gender.  Males and post-menopausal females are at an increased risk. This may be due, in part, to lower estrogen levels in these groups.Estrogen may improve cholesterol levels and reduce the amount of fat stored in the abdomen.

Ethnicity. African Americans have more severe high blood pressure and are at a higher risk for heart disease than Caucasians. Mexican Americans,American Indians, native Hawaiians and some Asian Americans are also at higher risk, partly due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

Risk factors you can control

Cigarette Smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure, cholesterol, and the tendency for your blood to clot. It also damages the arteries and makes the heart work harder.   All of these factors greatly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Quitting today is one of the best choices you’ll ever make.

Obesity.  Excess weight increases the load on the heart. Excess abdominal weight is particularly a problem. It is associated with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides which can increase your risk for heart disease.

High Cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL).  Excess cholesterol, more specifically “bad” LDL cholesterol, can damage and clog the arteries.  This may block blood flow and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Know what your cholesterol levels are and keep them at healthy levels.

High Blood Pressure (greater than 140/90 mmHg).  High blood pressure can also damage and clog the arteries.It can make your heart work harder and lead to heart failure, heart attack, or stroke. Know what your blood pressure is and keep it at a healthy level.

Lack of Physical Activity.  Physical activity is great for your heart. It can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and help regulate blood glucose.   It can also help you manage your weight and stress levels which may lower your risk for heart disease.   Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.

Uncontrolled Diabetes.  When diabetes is uncontrolled, blood glucose is abnormally high. This can damage and clog the arteries.High blood glucose can also lead to blindness, nerve damage, and kidney failure. If you have diabetes, make sure you know and manage your blood glucose levels.

Uncontrolled Stress. When you perceive stress, your body releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.Stress may also make you overeat, exercise less, abuse alcohol, or smoke. Learn how to recognize the stressors in your life and healthy ways to cope with them.

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Is It a Heart Attack?

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when your heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen. The heart tissue starts to suffocate and may lose the ability to function. If you suspect a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention. It can save your life.

What are the signs and symptoms of a Heart Attack?

  • Chest discomfort or pressure
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Pain that lasts even after rest

Heart Attack facts

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Some heart attacks come on suddenly with a sharp pain.
  • Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. You may not be sure what is wrong. It is important to get help fast.
  • You can greatly improve your chance of surviving a heart attack if you get immediate medical attention.
  • Medical personnel can administer clot-busting drugs to help restore blood flow to the heart.
  • If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

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Is it a Stroke?

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when your brain does not receive enough blood and oxygen.The brain tissue starts to suffocate and may lose the ability to function.   If you suspect a stroke, seek immediate medical attention.It can save your life.

What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?

  •  Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  •  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
  •  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  •  Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Stroke facts

  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
  • You can greatly improve your chance of surviving a stroke if you get immediate medical attention.
  • Medical personnel can administer clot-busting drugs to help restore blood flow to the brain.
  • If you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

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How Can I Manage My Blood Pressure?

What is high blood pressure?

Nearly 1 in 3 people have high blood pressure (greater than 140/90 mmHg). High blood pressure adds to the work of your heart and arteries. It greatly increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. There are no symptoms of high blood pressure. The only way to find out if you have the disease is to get your blood pressure checked.

What causes high blood pressure and how can I manage it?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are largely unknown. Some factors that may increase the risk for high blood pressure are:

Age.  Blood pressure tends to increase as we age. This may be due to weight gain, decreased physical activity, and losing elasticity in the arteries.

Ethnicity/ Family history. African Americans tend to have more severe high blood pressure. High blood pressure may also be due to family history.

Excess weight/ Lack of exercise.  Losing just 5-10% of your body weight may lower your blood pressure.Exercise may lower your blood pressure even if you don’t lose weight.  

Diet.  A diet high in sodium and low in calcium, potassium, and magnesium may increase blood pressure. Choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy foods. Minimize processed foods that are high in sodium.

Alcohol. Chronic alcohol consumption increases blood pressure.If you choose to drink, drink in moderation. This means no more than one drink per day for a female and no more than two drinks per day for a male.

Smoking.  Nicotine constricts blood vessels which increases blood pressure. Avoid cigarettes and don’t let others smoke around you.

Stress. Stress hormones increase blood pressure. Learn how to recognize stressors and healthy ways to cope with them.

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How Can I Manage my Cholesterol?

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your body. Some cholesterol is necessary for your health. Too much cholesterol can damage and clog the arteries. This may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Where does cholesterol come from?

From your body. Your liver makes all of the cholesterol that you need to stay healthy. Some factors, such as eating saturated and trans fats, make your body produce more cholesterol than you need.

From your food. You can also eat cholesterol in animal foods like meat, dairy, eggs, and organ meats.Plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains do not have cholesterol because plants do not have livers.

How can I manage my cholesterol?

Lifestyle.  It is important to know and manage your cholesterol to reduce your risk for heart disease. Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can help lower your cholesterol.

Medication.  If lifestyle changes are not enough, it is important to lower your cholesterol through medication from your doctor.

What is the difference between “good” and “bad”cholesterol?

High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are referred to as the “good” cholesterol.These particles carry cholesterol away from your arteries and help keep your arteries clear. (Think “H” for Healthy).

Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are referred to as the “bad” cholesterol.These particles carry cholesterol to the artery walls. LDL also causes damage that leads to clogged arteries. (Think “L” for Lethal).

How can I increase my good (HDL) cholesterol?

Exercise regularly.  Regular moderate to vigorous aerobic activity has been shown to increase HDL in some individuals.

If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation.  Moderate consumption of alcohol may increase HDL. Moderate means no more than one drink per day if you are a female,no more than two if you are a male. If you do not drink now, do not start for this slight potential benefit. There are other ways to improve your cholesterol without the risks of alcohol.

Quit smoking. Among other things, smoking decreases your good HDL and increases your bad LDL.

How can I decrease my bad (LDL) cholesterol?

Decrease saturated fats. Saturated fats influence your blood cholesterol more than any other dietary factor. Foods high in saturated fat include beef, cheese, butter,full-fat dairy products, tropical oils, and coconut.

Decrease dietary cholesterol.  Eating cholesterol can increase your blood cholesterol. Foods of animal origin such as eggs, meat, dairy, and organ meats contain cholesterol.

Decrease trans fats.  Trans fats are found in many processed foods, fried foods, and to a lesser extent in meat and dairy foods. Trans fats can increase your LDL and decrease your HDL cholesterol.

Eat soluble fiber.  The soluble fiber found in oats, fruit, and beans can help sweep cholesterol out of the body.

Consider soy.  Twenty-five grams of soy protein a day may help decrease cholesterol levels, especially if it replaces meat that is high in saturated fat. Soy protein can be found in soybeans, soymilk, soy cheese, tofu, tempeh, and soy nuts.

Plant sterol and stanol esters.  Plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, contain small amounts of sterol and stanol esters. When consumed in larger quantities, plant sterols (1.3 grams perday) or plant sterols (3.4 grams per day) may significantly lower cholesterol. They can be found in several fortified foods such as Benecol margarine, Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice, and Nature’s Valley Healthy Heart granola bars.

Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables contain substances called phytochemicals. Some of these phytochemicals, such as those found in garlic, can help lower cholesterol. Fruits and vegetables are also low in saturated fat, contain no trans fat or cholesterol, and are a great source of fiber.

Exercise regularly.  Regular aerobic exercise can help lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol.

Lose weight if you are overweight.  Losing just 5-10% of your total body weight may help lower your cholesterol.

Quit smoking.  Among other things, smoking increases your bad LDL and decreases your good HDL cholesterol.

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How Should I Eat for a Healthy Heart?


The American Heart Association Provides the following guidelines:

1. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

2. Eat a variety of grain products, including whole grains.

3. Include fat-free and low-fat products, fish, legumes (beans), skinless poultry, and lean meats.

4. Choose fats with 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving, such as liquid and tub margarines, canola oil, and olive oil.

5. Balance the number of calories you eat with those you use each day.

6. Maintain a level of physical activity that keeps you fit and matches the number of calories you eat. Walk or do other activities for at least 30 minutes on most days. To lose weight, do enough activity to use up more calories than you eat every day.

7. Limit your intake of foods that are high in calories or low in nutrition, such as soft drinks and candy.

8. Limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and/or cholesterol, such as full-fat milk products, fatty meats, tropical oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and egg yolks.

9. Eat less than 6 grams of salt (sodium chloride) per day (2,400 milligrams of sodium).

10. Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day if you are a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you are a man.One drink equals 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. wine, or 1.5 oz. 80 proof liquor.

By Kelly Frazier, M.A., Furman University, Department of Health Sciences.
Sources:  American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, and National Cholesterol Education Program.

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Am I at Risk for Cancer?

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. It is actually a group of over 100 diseases that are all caused by damage to cell DNA.When DNA is damaged, cells turn abnormal and start growing out of control. Eventually, these abnormal cells can take over or interfere with normal bodily function. (The word cancer is actually derived from a Latin word meaning “crab”.) 

What are the risk factors for Cancer?

Different kinds of cancer have different risk factors. According to the American Cancer Society, some of the major risk factors for cancer include:

Tobacco use including cigarettes,cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff. Smoking alone causes one-third of all cancer deaths.

Excess weight and poor diet cause approximately one-third of cancer cases. Poor diet includes heavy alcohol consumption, a diet high in fat and sodium, and low in fruits, vegetables,fiber, and water.

Unprotected sun exposure may increase your risk for skin cancer.

Family history may increase your risk for certain types of cancer such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer.

Ethnicity may affect your risk. For example, African-American men have a higher risk for prostate cancer.

Environmental exposure to carcinogens,such as exposure to lead, asbestos, radon, or benzene may increase your risk.

Viruses, bacteria, and parasites contribute to approximately 15% of all cancer cases.


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How Can I Reduce My Risk for Cancer?

There are many factors that contribute to your risk for cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, by adopting these seven simple choices, up to 60% of cancer deaths may be prevented.

Cut out tobacco. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable cancer death. By cutting out tobacco and avoiding second-hand smoke, you can immediately reduce your risk for cancer of the lung, throat, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and mouth.

Hold the fat.  Studies show a low-fat diet reduces your risk for cancer of the colon, breast, and prostate. Choose a diet that is less than 30percent fat.

Limit alcohol consumption.  Heavy alcohol use can increase your risk for cancer of the mouth, larynx, and esophagus. The risk is higher if you also smoke or chew tobacco.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.  People who eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day have lower rates of some forms of cancer than those who eat few or none.

Call your doctor. Many cancers begin their deadly growth long before symptoms become obvious. Cancer must be found early, when you have the best chance for a cure. Be aware of any physical changes, conduct regular self-exams, and visit your doctor regularly for cancer screening.

Exercise regularly and manage your weight.  A strong, fit body has a better chance of warding off many forms of cancer. Obesity has been linked with cancer of the breast, ovaries, colon and prostate.

Protect yourself from the sun.  About 90% of skin cancers could be prevented by proper use of sun protection. Some skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, can be fatal. Use sunscreen at SPF 15 or higher. Avoid exposure between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Examine your skin regularly and consult a doctor about anything unusual, particularly a change in the size or color of a mole.

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What Should I Eat to Reduce My Risk for Cancer?

The American Institute for Cancer Research provides the following guidelines:

Choose a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods.  

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.

Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.

Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all.

Select foods low in fat and salt.

Prepare and store food safely.

Do not use tobacco in any form.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk for Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Up to100% of skin cancers can be prevented and cured by following these guidelines: 

Limit UV exposure

UV radiation is particularly intense between 10a.m. - 4 p.m. Limit your time outside during this part of the day. Remember,sunlight can reflect off of water, clouds, sand, concrete, snow, and can reach below the water’s surface.

Avoid artificial sources of UV radiation, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, that can also increase your risk for skin cancer.

Slip on a shirt

A tightly woven, dark fabric provides the best sun protection.

 Slap on a hat and sunglasses

Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, ears,face, and neck. Baseball hats don’t protect the ears or neck. Choose wrap-around sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection.

 Slop on sunscreen

Use a UVA/ UVB sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Apply a palmful of sunscreen to all sun exposed areas about 20 minutes before you go outside. Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or heavy sweating. Just because you use sunscreen, doesn’t mean that you should stay out in the sun longer. Limiting sun exposure is your best defense.

Check your skin regularly

Look for new or changing moles. A mole that is Asymmetrical, has an irregular Border,has a dark or changing Color, or has a Diameter greater than a pencil eraser needs to be examined by your doctor immediately.

See your doctor regularly and immediately

See your doctor for regular skin exams.Early detection can save your life.

By Kelly Frazier, M.A., Furman University, Department of Health Sciences.
Sources:  American Cancer Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, and National Cancer Institute.

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Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

 What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not make enough insulin or use insulin efficiently.   Uncontrolled diabetes greatly increases the risk for heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve damage.

What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

Age. The incidence of type 2diabetes is much higher in individuals over the age of 60.

Excess weight.  Nearly9 out of 10 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight.Carrying excess weight, especially around the abdomen, makes the body resistant to the hormone insulin. Regular physical activity and weight loss can decrease insulin resistance and the need for diabetes medication.

Ethnicity. Clinical reports indicate that African American, Latino/ Hispanic American,Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander ethnicities have higher rates of diabetes.

Diabetes facts

Results from the Diabetes Prevention Program study suggest that it is possible to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetics by losing weight and becoming physically active.

Many people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose by following a careful diet and exercise program, losing excess weight, and taking oral medications.

Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination,extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, blurry vision, and increased fatigue.

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The American Diabetes Association provides the following guidelines:

1. Eat a wide variety of foods every day.

2. Be physically active every day.

3. Eat high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables,whole grains, and beans. These are the foods you should primarily eat.

4. Use less added fat. This can lead to heart disease and people with diabetes are at an even greater risk for developing heart disease.

5. Use less added sugar.

6. Use less added salt and sodium.

7. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount and drink it with food.

By Kelly Frazier, M.A., Furman University, Department of Health Sciences.
Sources:  American Diabetes Association.

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What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means “porous bone”. It is characterized by brittle bones that are more susceptible to breaking.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

There are many factors that affect your risk for osteoporosis, including:

Gender. Females are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.

Increased age.  The incidence of osteoporosis increases as you age.

Ethnicity.  Caucasians are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.

Low body weight.  There is a higher incidence of osteoporosis among individuals who weigh less than 127 pounds.

Smoking. Smoking negatively affects calcium absorption and bone health.

History of prior fracture.

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Eat right.  Choose a well balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D. Limit calcium inhibitors such as excess protein, sodium, colas, and coffee.

Exercise. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking and resistance training can increase bone density.

Stop smoking. Smoking decreases calcium absorption and bone density.

Consult your physician.  He or she will monitor your bone density and take other precautions as needed.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation provides the following guidelines:

1. Obtain adequate calcium (1000-1300 mg daily).Low-fat dairy, fortified soymilk, fortified orange juice and cereal, salmon with edible bones, some dark green leafy vegetables, and calcium supplements are all good sources.

2. Obtain adequate vitamin D (400-800 IU daily). Low-fat dairy, fortified soymilk and cereal, egg yolks, salt-water fish, and vitamin D supplements are all good sources.

3. Be active.  Perform weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as walking, every day.

4.  Lift weights.  Perform weight bearing resistance training exercise 2-3 times a week.

By Kelly Frazier, M.A., Furman University, Department of Health Sciences.
Sources:  National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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How Does Smoking Affect My Health?


Tobacco smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.  Smoking has many adverse effects on your health and well-being, including:

Premature death.  Research suggests that smokers die, on average, 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.  Tobacco kills more Americans than Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

Heart disease.  Nicotine makes your blood vessels constrict.  This increases your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder.  Nicotine also damages and clogs the inside of the arteries which may lead to a heart attack or stroke.  Smoking increases your cholesterol and the tendency for your blood to clot. 

Cancer.  Tobacco use accounts for one-third of all cancer deaths.  There are at least 60 known cancer causing substances and tumor promoters in tobacco smoke.  Smoking causes 87% of lung cancers and contributes to cancers of the larynx, pharynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, liver, uterus, cervix, kidney, stomach, colon, rectum, and some leukemias.

Lung disease.  Smoking decreases lung function and causes several lung diseases, such as lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.  In the late stages of lung disease, a patient must gasp for breath—similar to the feeling of drowning.

Shortness of breath.  The carbon monoxide in cigarettes competes with your ability to carry oxygen.  This leads to shortness of breath, fatigue, and difficulty completing everyday tasks.

Digestive disorders.  Smoking contributes to heart burn, peptic ulcers, liver disease, and Crohn’s disease.

Infertility in women.  Smoking can have a tremendous impact on the ability to become pregnant and to carry a pregnancy full term.  In women, smoking is harmful to the ovaries and may accelerate the loss of eggs.  Components in cigarette smoke may make a woman’s eggs more prone to genetic abnormalities.

Sterility in men.  Men who smoke have a lower sperm count and motility, and increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function.

Complications of pregnancy.  Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a stillborn, premature, or low birth weight infant.  In infants, exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for respiratory diseases and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Osteoporosis.  Postmenopausal women who smoke have lower bone density and a greater risk for hip fractures.  Smoking decreases the blood supply to the bones, slows the production of bone-forming cells, and impairs calcium absorption.

Musculoskeletal injuries.  Smokers are more likely to suffer from bursitis, tendinitis, sprains, and fractures.  Healing after an injury is also impaired.

Rheumatoid arthritis.  Smoking significantly increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in individuals who have a genetic predisposition for the disease.

Gum disease and tooth loss.  Smokers are 6 times more likely to develop gum disease which can lead to tooth loss.

Premature wrinkles.  Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin and decreases the amount of vitamins in the skin, such as vitamin A.  These factors can magnify sun damage to the elastic fibers and collagen of the skin and may accelerate the aging process.

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It Is Never to Late to Quit Smoking


Within 20 minutes of smoking the last cigarette, the body begins to restore itself.  According to the American Cancer Society and Surgeon General’s Report:

20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops

12 hours after quitting, your blood carbon monoxide returns to normal

2 weeks- 3 months after quitting, your circulation and lung function improve

1- 9 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia regain normal function and begin cleaning the lungs which reduces the risk of infection

1 year after quitting, the excess risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s

10 years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s

15 years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker’s

It’s important to note that the extent to which these risks decrease depends on how much you smoked, the age you started smoking, and the amount of smoke you inhaled.

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How Can I Kick the Cigarette Habit?


According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of American adults who smoke is on the decline.  More than 46 million adults have kicked the habit and you can too!


Step 1.  Be ready

Trash em’!  Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.

Review your past attempts!  Think about what worked and what didn’t. 

Plan ahead!  Which situations do you associate with smoking?  Make a back up plan to avoid these situations or crises.


Step 2.  Get support and encouragement

Get help!  Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are quitting and need their support.  Don’t let people smoke in your home or around you.

Visit your doctor!  Your doctor, smoking counselor, or other health professional may be able to suggest or prescribe a quit aid.


Step 3.  Learn new skills and behaviors

Distract yourself!  When you feel the urge to smoke, talk to someone, go for a walk, or get busy with a task.  Use mints or chewing gum, sip water, or brush your teeth.

Change your routine!  Use a different route to work.  Eat your meals in a different place.   

Relax!  Take a bath, exercise, or read a book to reduce stress.  Close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths to calm down.


Step 4.  Be prepared to relapse

Stay positive!  You can do this!  Most relapses occur within the first 3 months.  Many smokers try 7 times before they finally quit.

By:  Kelly Frazier, M.A., ACSM, Furman University; Sources:  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Cancer Society, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Centers for Disease Control, Mayo Clinic, and National Institutes of Health. 

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