Editorial – Resolve to quit smoking

Published 5:27 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

While tobacco use has been declining for decades, 13.6% of Virginia residents still smoke, and tobacco is the leading cause of death and disease in the state, according to the American Lung Association in Virginia.

Here’s hoping for another big decline in 2023. In fact, we hope all smokers will make it their new year’s resolution.

The Lung Association’s new “Tobacco-Free ‘23” campaign offers up several good reasons that 2023 is the year to quit tobacco use:

  • Your health. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Virginia, killing 10,310 people each year. Currently, 16 million Americans live with a tobacco-related disease. While it’s best to quit as early as possible, quitting tobacco use at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is preparing to end sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. If you use one of these tobacco products, this is an optimal time to begin your cessation journey. In fact, after Canada stopped selling menthol cigarettes in 2017, the country saw an increase in quit attempts and cessation among people who smoked menthols.
  • Be an inspiration. Last year, the American Lung Association relaunched the “Super Stoppers Club” with award-winning journalist Bob Levey to celebrate people who have quit smoking for good and inspire those who are trying to quit. Read inspiring “quit stories” and submit your own at Lung.org/Super-Stoppers.
  • Bonus: If your new year’s resolution is to save money, quitting smoking can save you between $2,230-$4,360 annually, experts say.

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Not sure where to start? Call the Lung Association’s free Lung Helpline and Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-LUNGUSA, which is staffed with licensed registered nurses, respiratory therapists and certified tobacco treatment specialists.

Smokers can also talk to their health care providers: With your doctor’s help, you can include cessation medication in your tobacco treatment plan, which can double your chances of quitting successfully. There are seven FDA-approved medications that are proven to help smokers quit.

The Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program helps people create their own unique quit plan, as well as tips and techniques to stay successful in the long run.

Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T) is a teen smoking/chewing/vaping cessation program for teens who want to quit. The 10-session program provides the tools, information, and support for teens to end their addiction to tobacco.

For more information about “Tobacco-Free ’23,” visit Lung.org or call the aforementioned Lung HelpLine.