American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is right around the corner. The third Thursday in November is set aside as a challenge to quit smoking or chewing tobacco for a day, and make it a habit for a lifetime. “There is good news for those who have tried to quit before, and perhaps not stayed quit. It’s time to try again because there is more help out there than ever!” says Mary Gillett, Guilford County Department of Public Health Tobacco Use Prevention Coordinator. “Quitting tobacco is a process. Often it requires several tries, and it helps to tap into several sources of support.”
Gillett says that some of the best new support measures are free. The North Carolina quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW will connect you to a trained cessation counselor every day from 8 am-3 am, at no cost to the caller. Quitline will send information and provide free counseling to help you plan for your quit. Their expert help is available to teens, as well as adult and older tobacco users.
A new website, www.BecomeAnEX.com, also provides a supportive on-line community, assisting you to plan for triggers and re-learn life without cigarettes as you “become an ex-smoker.”
“Quitters should also consult their healthcare provider, and check their health insurance plan,” recommends Gillett. “There are over-the-counter and prescription drugs that prove to be very helpful for some people. The current evidence suggests that everyone should consider whether these drugs might be helpful for them.”
Overall, what is the one piece of advice that will help every smoker or chewer quit? “Don’t quit quitting, “ says Gillett. “Persistence pays off and quitting takes practice.”
For more information on the Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program, call 641-6000 or visit www.tobaccofreeguilford.org