Help and Support

Help is available

With the wide range of counseling services, self-help materials, and medicines available today, smokers have more tools than ever to help them quit smoking for good.

Remember, tobacco addiction is both mental and physical. For most people, the best way to quit will be some combination of medicine, a method to change personal habits, and emotional support. The following sections describe these tools and how they may be helpful to you.

Help with the mental part of addiction

Some people are able to quit on their own, without the help of others or the use of medicines. But for many smokers, it can be hard to break the social and emotional ties to smoking while getting over nicotine withdrawal symptoms at the same time. Fortunately, there are many sources of support out there — both formal and informal.

Telephone-based help to stop smoking

As of 2008, all states run some type of free telephone-based program, such as the American Cancer Society’s Quitline® tobacco cessation program that links callers with trained counselors. These specialists help plan a quit method that fits each person’s unique smoking pattern. People who use telephone counseling are twice as likely to stop smoking as those who don’t get this type of help. Help from a counselor can help quitters can avoid many common mistakes.

Telephone counseling is also easier to use than some other support programs. It doesn’t require driving, transportation, or child care, and it’s available nights and weekends.

Counselors may suggest a combination of methods including medicines, local classes, self-help brochures, and/or a network of family and friends.

Call us to get help finding a Quitline® or other phone counseling program in your area.

Support of family, friends, and quit programs

Many former smokers say a support network of family and friends was very important during their quit attempt. Other people who may offer support and encouragement are co-workers and your family doctor. Choose to spend time with non-smokers and ex-smokers who support your efforts to quit.

Members of support groups for quitters can be helpful to you as well. Nicotine Anonymous, for instance, is an open support group that offers a way to find others who are quitting tobacco. It also offers a long-term approach to quitting.  But it is only one of many types of support groups. You can check with your employer, health insurance company, or local hospital to find support groups.

What to look for in a stop smoking program

Stop smoking programs are designed to help smokers recognize and cope with problems that come up during quitting. They also provide support and encouragement in staying quit. Studies have shown that the best programs will include either one-on-one or group counseling. There is a strong link between how often and how long counseling lasts (its intensity) and the success rate. In general, the more intense the program, the greater the chance of success.

For example, intensity may be increased by having more or longer sessions or by increasing the number of weeks over which the sessions are given. So, when looking for programs, try and find one that has the following:

  • each session lasts at least 20 to 30 minutes
  • there are at least 4 to 7 sessions
  • the program lasts at least 2 weeks — longer is usually better

Make sure the leader of the group has training in smoking cessation.

Some communities have a Nicotine Anonymous group that holds regular meetings. This group applies the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous to the addiction of smoking. This may include admitting you are powerless over your addiction to nicotine and having a sponsor to talk with when you are tempted to smoke. These meetings are free, though most will take donations if you like.

Often your local American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, or your local health department will sponsor quit smoking classes. Call us for more information.

There are some programs to watch out for as well. Not all programs are ethical. Think twice about any programs that do the following:

  • promise instant, easy success with no effort on your part
  • use injections or pills, especially “secret” ingredients
  • charge a very high fee — check with the Better Business Bureau if you have doubts
  • are not willing to give you references from people who have used the program

It is not how many years we live, but what we do with them. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes Brands

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