Given the prevalence of lung cancer and COPD among those who smoke, quitting smoking is on the top of the to-do list for many Americans. To help smokers effectively quit smoking and maintain it, the American Lung Association recently released five helpful tips.
1. It is never too late. To quit smoking is the most important decision an individual can make to enhance the length and quality of his/her life. This by itself should provide enough motivation, but other facts such as saving money and avoiding having to escape to inconvenient public places to smoke is an added bonus.
2. Learn from past experiences. Many individuals are unable to stop smoking on the first, second, and even third attempts. Do not get discouraged — instead try to understand what failed and what worked. Learn from past experiences and envision them as one more step in the path to success.
3. You don’t have to do it by yourself. Sharing this decision with friends and family can be advantageous in terms of the support and caring that they can provide you with. Smoker friends can also be encouraged to make the decision to quit smoking. In addition, expert support can be found at several advocacy groups and associations like the American Lung Association.
4. Medication can be helpful. The FDA has approved seven medications (including gum and nicotine patches) that have been proven effective in helping smokers quit. It is important, however, to follow medication guidelines correctly.
5. Every smoker can stop. The American Lung Association staunchly believes that every smoker can quit. It is a matter of finding the right combination of methods and having a resilient attitude.
Furthermore, if you are a smoker, a previous smoker, a non-smoker, or a soon-to-be non-smoker interested in the process of smoking cessation, the American Lung Association also shares relevant resources and tips on its website. The Association’s Freedom From Smoking program has been successful in helping individuals in this process. “Freedom From Smoking® helped me quit because I felt I had the encouragement and support of a whole movement behind me, a movement that had really thought about the best way to reach out and break the hold cigarettes had on me,” said Steve Ginther from New York City, one of the program’s participants.
In the United States, over 392,000 people die annually from tobacco-caused diseases like COPD and lung cancer, and another 50,000 people die due to exposure to secondhand smoke. Of all the causes of preventable death, smoking is the number one cause.