BOSTON — Along with hitting the gym more often and starting a diet, quitting smoking tops many New Year’s resolution lists. Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but 50 million ex-smokers in the U.S. are proof that it’s achievable.
Tobacco use remains the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease and is a serious public health threat. Nationally, nearly 40 million Americans smoke. In Massachusetts, the adult smoking rate is 12%, and the high-school tobacco-use rate is 37%. To encourage people to quit smoking, vaping, and using all tobacco products in 2022, the American Lung Assoc is promoting “No Tobacco ’22.” To help people quit, the organization is sharing tips and resources through social media and Lung.org.
“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. Smokers and tobacco users who want to quit should make a plan to be successful such as setting quit date, understanding smoking triggers, talking to a doctor about quit smoking medications and finding support through family, friends and cessation programs,” said Jennifer Folkenroth, national senior director of Tobacco Programs for the American Lung Assoc. (ALA).
The ALA offers five tips to help Americans who are ready to commit to No Tobacco ’22:
1. It’s never too late to quit. While it’s best to quit as early as possible, quitting tobacco use at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life. You’ll also save money and avoid the hassle of going outside in the cold to smoke or vape. You can even inspire those around you to quit.
2. Learn from past experiences. Most people who smoke, chew, or vape have tried to quit before and sometimes people get discouraged thinking about previous attempts. Instead, treat those experiences as steps on the road to future success. Think about what helped you during those tries and what you’ll do differently in your next quit attempt.
3. You don’t have to quit alone. Enrolling in a proven cessation-counseling program such as the ALA’s Freedom from Smoking program can increase your chances of successfully quitting and staying quit by 50%. In addition to enrolling in a program, enlisting friends and family to support you along your quit journey will help ease the process.
4. Talk to a doctor about quit-smoking medications. Talking to a doctor about including cessation medication into your tobacco-treatment plan can double your chances of quitting successfully. There are seven FDA-approved medications that are proven to help people quit. Just make sure to follow the directions and use them for the full duration they are prescribed.
5. Quit. Don’t switch. E-cigarettes are tobacco products, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. Switching to e-cigarettes does not mean quitting. Quitting means ending your addiction to nicotine. Make sure your tobacco-treatment plan includes the two components proven to work: behavioral counseling plus FDA-approved cessation medication.