Patient resources: How to help reinforce New Year's resolutions to quit smoking

December 14, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Patient Care Patient Education Public Health 

The American Lung Association (ALA) is offering resources and advice for physicians to help patients who may be considering quitting smoking for the new year. Available resources available tips on phone counseling, self-help booklets, and online or in-person support groups.

The ALA says it can take several attempts at quitting before someone is completely smoke free, but every smoker can quit with the proper support. Research shows the number of quit attempts is positively correlated with quitting.

The ALA also offers a Freedom From Smoking® online program, through which participants learn to set a quit date, reduce smoking triggers and urges, and stay motivated throughout the duration of a quit attempt. In addition, anyone can call (800) LUNG-USA for a live expert who can help them prepare for a quit attempt or to overcome a craving as it’s happening. There is no time limit for these calls and services are provided in over 200 languages.

Twenty-five percent of participants report not smoking after one year of completing the ALA's Freedom From Smoking® program, compared to just 5 percent for those who quit cold turkey. The percentage of successful quitters increases to almost 60 percent when participants use nicotine replacement therapy while following the Freedom from Smoking program.

Physicians can order self-help booklets for patients at low cost through your local American Lung Association office.

The best prevention, of course, is to never start smoking, which is why the American Lung Association and the California Medical Association (CMA) have joined the Save Lives California coalition. The coalition is supporting a ballot initiative that will increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack in 2016. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in California, killing an estimated 40,000 people every year. Each year, 21,000 kids get hooked on smoking.

Increasing the tobacco tax is widely recognized as the most effective way to reduce smoking across California, especially for young people. Studies show that for every 10 percent increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes, teen smoking drops by up to 7 percent. The good news is that a recent Field Poll shows that nearly 75 percent of Californians support raising the tax.

The Save Lives California coalition includes the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, ALA, CMA, California Hospital Association, Blue Shield of California and numerous doctors, nurses, patients, survivors and taxpayers all dedicated to standing up to big tobacco companies because, together, we can save lives and help smokers quit.

To get involved in supporting this tobacco tax, visit www.savelivescalifornia.com.


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