KICKING BUTTS: You know who you are, and you know if you're ready to quit. With all of the anti-smoking bans popping up all over the country, this might be a good time to consider giving up the cancer sticks. Trust us, there are places you can get help besides the nicotine substitute aisle at Walgreens. The Arizona Department of Health and Human Services actually has an amazing anti-smoking program (that your cigarette taxes have been paying for, so no need to feel guilty about using their services). The Tobacco Education and Prevention Program (or TEPP) not only will offer you information about the various nasty health concerns of smoking, but it will also hook you up with low- or no-cost cessation supplies, counseling, and whatever you need to kick the habit for good. Try the Arizona Smoker's Helpline (or ASH line, we appreciate the clever acronym), which offers tailored tobacco use cessation counseling, information, and self-help materials seven days a week. And we hate to admit it, but the Philip Morris Web site actually has a lot of useful information on the terrible effects of its own products and ways to help you stop buying them -- a by-product of the American legal system at work, for once.
DON'T BITE ME: Biting the nails. So many of us do it out of nervousness, habit or stress (because we're trying to quit smoking), and we chew our poor fingernails to the quick. Too bad we can't reach the toes. (If you're that desperate, refer back to our fitness listings.) The little snaggles of skin and paper-thin nails hang off our fingers like guilty reminders of our lack of self-control. Related Web sites suggest everything from wearing gloves to snapping elastic bands around the wrists when you catch yourself biting (just like Catholic school). At www.stopbitingyournails.ca, you can buy a book that promises to cure you for $4.95. Our suggestion to help curb this habit? Get a fancy manicure. If your nails are covered in paint, not only will they taste terrible, but you'll be less likely to want to nibble the nails and ruin your pretty paint job. They will also be less likely to break, which is the reason most people bite them off. If you're a little cash-poor after the holidays (and who isn't?), try getting a manicure at one of the local beauty school salons like Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy (we heard you should ask for Cherilyn), Tempe's Carsten Institute of Hair and Beauty, or one of Artistic Beauty College's locations (the home of the $5 manicure). Skittish about going into a salon? Try using a product called Mavala Stop (http://www.mavala-usa.com/11ncare.htm). It promises to make you kick the habit by "warning" you not to put your fingers into your mouth. They say it has a "distinctly bitter" (read: nasty) taste that deters even longtime addicts, and looks like clear enamel.
TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT: If you have been staring at the unemployment numbers and staying in a job that makes you want to stab out your eyeballs, try beefing up your résumé and searching on the sly. The biggest thing to remember is that you shouldn't work on your résumé or search online for jobs from your current job -- unless you're absolutely sure no one is looking, or checking your computer. But if you don't have a computer at home, both Phoenix and Maricopa County libraries have computers available free of charge, and most copy shops like Kinko's offer computer rental and assistance with résumé design. We recommend the New Times classifieds (and we hear other papers have them, too . . . ) as well as online search services (the ones voted best in online polls are below). Many job-search sites also offer online résumé posting, résumé help, and tips on interviewing.
ASH (Arizona Smoker's Helpline)
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends. Services available in English and Spanish on weekdays.
ADHHS Tobacco Education and
Check out online learning center (link on main page). Library card necessary for access, but you can get a "virtual library card" on the site by clicking "First Time Visitors."
Philip Morris, USA
Information on the risks of, and how to quit, smoking.
Artistic Beauty Colleges
2978 North Alma School, Suites 1-3,
2727 West Glendale Avenue,
Carsten Institute of Hair & Beauty
3345 South Rural,
4415 East Indian School