Resolution to quit smoking? Tips for winning at quitting

An American Lung Association survey found that 69% of smokers in D.C. have tried to quit, and for those who use tobacco products, the start of the new year is a perfect time to kick the habit. Right?

Quitting smoking is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year, but not everyone finds success. And it may depend on how one goes about quitting.

Switching to one of the various nicotine vaporizers on the market, such as the JUUL, will not do the trick.

“Switching isn’t the same as quitting,” said Jennifer Folkenroth, national senior director of tobacco programs with the American Lung Association. “Half of those individuals who are transitioning to e-cigarette products continue to use combustible cigarettes.”

The American Lung Association said that there is so much misinformation about e-cigarettes and their use that it is starting a campaign called “Quit, Don’t Switch.”

The Food and Drug Administration has not found any type of e-cigarette product to be “safe and effective in helping individuals to quit,” Folkenroth said.

But there are strategies that do work.

The American Lung Association recommends that those who want to quit come up with a plan that includes some type of counseling and any of seven different prescription medications that have proved to help people quit.

“Research and statistics back these programs,” Folkenroth said. “Counseling increases your chances of success by 50%, and adding one of those seven first-line medications that are FDA- approved increases an additional 20-45%. Combining those two together, you’re giving yourself the best chances of success.”

What about sheer will power or quitting cold turkey?

“Many times it’s [someone’s] confidence in their ability to follow through and be successful” that leads to failure, Folkenroth said.

That’s why counseling in any form, whether it’s one-on-one, group therapy or even a call to a state-sponsored helpline, can make such a big difference.

But even if your effort to quit does not succeed right away, Folkenroth urges you not to give up. “With every single quit attempt, you learn more skills and more tools that really will come into play to help you be successful.”

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