If giving up tobacco is one of your New Year’s resolutions, know that it won’t be easy but don’t give up. Fifty million ex-smokers in the United States are proof that it can be done.
“More than 70% of smokers want to quit smoking and 40% will make an attempt this year, but only between 4% and 7% can quit without support,” Jennifer Folkenroth, national senior director of tobacco programs with the American Lung Association.
“Smokers and tobacco users who want to quit should make a plan to be successful such as setting a quit date, understanding smoking triggers, talking to a doctor about quit smoking medications, and finding support through family, friends and cessation programs,” she suggested in a lung association news release.
The lung association offers several tips to help you stay on track:
Learn from your past experiences. If you’ve tried to stop smoking, chewing or vaping before, think through what helped you then and what you’ll do differently this time.
Don’t go it alone. Enrolling in a program such as the Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking Program can increase your chances of success by about 50%. Ask friends and family for additional support to help you.
Talk to your doctor. Ask about smoking-cessation medications, which can double your chances of success. There are seven federally approved options. It’s important to follow directions and use the medications for the full length of the prescription.
Skip the substitutes. Quit, but don’t switch to e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. Quitting will mean ending your addiction to nicotine. No e-cigarette has been found to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Know that it’s never too late to quit, enhancing the length and quality of your life, saving money and possibly inspiring others.
About 40 million people Americans still smoke, and tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of death. In Connecticut, for example, about 12.1% of adults smoke, including 28.7% of high schoolers.
The American Lung Association, which has a new campaign called No Tobacco ’22, offers a variety of resources to help people become ex-smokers, including a helpline and quitline at 1-800-LUNGUSA staffed with nurses and certified tobacco treatment specialists.
Other programs help individuals create their own no-smoking plan, help teens with a tobacco problem and work toward vape-free schools.