Make 2015 the year you quit, …smoking, that is

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Once the holiday parties are over and gift wrap has been stuffed in the recycling bin, Iowans turn their thoughts to the New Year and what changes they’d like to make in the months ahead. Some ‘resolutions’ are quickly forgotten or abandoned after the first temptation. For Iowans who smoke, giving up tobacco may be the hardest, yet most rewarding resolution they will ever make.

According to the 2013 Iowa Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFSS), one in five adult Iowans (450,000 or 20 percent) smoke cigarettes. Of the 28,000 deaths in Iowa each year, 4,400 (16 percent) are caused by cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, and cancer related to smoking. Almost 75 percent of all Iowa adult cigarette smokers smoke every day and almost one-third smoke one or more packs per day.

Encouragingly, almost half of smokers want to quit and more than half (56 percent) try to quit each year. Between 5 percent and 15 percent succeed and become former smokers. It is clear ending the addiction to tobacco is difficult, but is possible. Research has shown a smoker is more likely to be successful in their quit attempt if they have a support system that includes family, friends and experts to help with advice and information about managing withdrawal symptoms.

Quitline Iowa pairs tobacco users with a Quit Coach® to help them develop an individualized quitting plan and determine which nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) offering is best to help them stay tobacco-free. Any participant over the age of 18 who enrolls could be eligible for eight weeks of free NRT, including patches, gum or lozenges. A Quit Coach® also helps by:

*Preparing participants for their quit date

*Providing tips and support to live in a smoke-free environment

*Offering advice and information on medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms

Tobacco users can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitlineiowa.org today to enroll in the program and talk to a Quit Coach®. Coaches understand the challenges of ending tobacco addiction and are committed to helping tobacco users begin and maintain their resolution to live a tobacco-free life. Registration specialists and Quit Coaches are available 24 hours a day.