Every day presents a new opportunity to quit smoking. Today, Kick Butts Day, is the perfect time to kick the habit for good. Consider this: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, surpassing deaths due to colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. But it can be tremendously difficult to stop smoking.
Kick Butts Day started in 1996 as a movement of young people encouraging other young people to say no to cigarettes from the start and to reject tobacco advertising. We applaud the effort, which is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The message of rejecting tobacco should resonate with young people and adults alike.
Among adults, smoking rates dropped 57 percent between 1965 and 2012. Just two years ago, 18 percent of adults were smokers, compared with 42 percent in 1965.
If you’re struggling to become smoke-free, it may be a matter of finding the right method for you. Here are some of the most effective ways to quit smoking:
- Counseling and medication: Combining the two results in greater success than choosing counseling or medication alone.
- Varenicline (Chantix®): This prescription drug blocks the effects of nicotine and reduces withdrawal symptoms.
- Nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler or nasal spray: The patch, gum and lozenge provide nicotine but reduce it gradually over time. The inhaler and nasal spray give a specific amount of nicotine with each usage.
- Bupropion SR (Wellbutrin® and Zyban®): This prescription drug helps reduce desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms.
- In-person or telephone counseling and support: In-person counseling may be one-on-one or in a support group. Telephone counselors are available at 800-QUIT-NOW.
- Combined medications: Using certain medications at the same time may increase success.
- Self-help guides: Pamphlets, booklets, manuals, videos and audio tapes
- Online programs: Several programs to quit are available, including smokefree.gov.
- Laser therapy: Low-intensity light beams are focused on certain parts of the body.
- Hypnosis: This state of deep concentration may help reduce desire for cigarettes while increasing commitment to quitting.
- Acupuncture: This form of ancient Chinese medicine uses needles, typically outside the ear, to help with discomfort from nicotine withdrawal.
The path to becoming smoke-free begins with your family and friends. Tell them you are quitting and the exact day you will stop smoking. Ask for their support. Then, find a program that works for you. Distract yourself by staying busy, especially on your quit day. Throughout your program, avoid people, places and situations that typically lead you to smoke. Be positive even when it's difficult. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Learn more about quitting smoking through our Tobacco Cessation Program.