About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, the number one cause of lung cancer. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of premature death. While many smokers are aware of the reasons to quit, knowing where to start can be difficult and daunting. Whether attempting to quit alone or with support, taking the first step can be the hardest part. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for kicking the habit:
Find Out What’s Available to You
Smoking cessation resources are included in many health insurance plans. Resources like classes, digital coaching, reading materials, and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or prescription medication can be offered depending on your plan. Through Blue KC’s A Healthier You™ program, members are eligible to participate in free online health coaching. This digital health coaching has an average quit rate of 26 percent after 3 months.
There are hundreds of support groups and programs centered on quitting smoking. One such program happens every year, on the third Thursday of November. Smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout event. On this day, encourage someone you know is a tobacco user to quit, whether by starting that day or planning in advance. The American Cancer Society insists that by quitting – even for one day – smokers take an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. This year’s event falls on November 16, so why not start planning now?
Make a plan
If you want to quit but haven’t planned ahead, now is a good time to develop your quitting strategy. Think of triggers or barriers you have faced in the past. These barriers could be the situations you smoke in or the people you smoke with. Find strategies for getting out of these situations and also ways to reward yourself for reaching specific milestones when quitting. You can also track your smoking in preparation as you progress in the smoking cessation process.
With tobacco use being the most preventable cause of disease, we encourage everyone to reach out to someone they know who is struggling with smoking cessation. Together, we can make a healthier Kansas City.