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Want to quit smoking in 2024? American Lung Association offers free resources, tips for dropping tobacco.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — This time of year, thousands of people across Wyoming make resolutions to take on personal challenges, accomplish a significant goal or improve their life for the new year. The American Lung Association in Wyoming is encouraging everyone who smokes, vapes or uses other tobacco products to resolve to begin their quit journey in 2024, and provides tips and resources at the American Lung Association website.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Wyoming, killing 800 people each year, according to a news release from the American Lung Association. Nationally, 16 million Americans live with a tobacco-related disease.

While it’s best to quit as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance length and quality of life.

Nick Torres, advocacy director of the American Lung Association in Wyoming, states that 16.4% of adults living in Wyoming smoke and 10.8% of high school students use some form of tobacco product. Nationwide, around 11.5% of adults smoke, according to 2021 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We know that breaking the addiction to nicotine is extremely difficult,” Torres said in the release, adding that it usually takes most smokers multiple attempts to quit for good. “Some tobacco products, like menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes, make quitting even more difficult, so it is critical that people who are ready speak with their healthcare provider about Food and Drug Administration-approved tobacco treatment medications, coupling them with proven effective cessation programs to quit.”

Currently, the FDA is in the process of finalizing rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. Menthol is a chemical compound extracted from peppermint or corn mint plants that makes cigarettes easier to start smoking and harder to quit, the ALA release states. Flavored cigars often look similar to cigarettes, attract kids and addict them to tobacco products for a lifetime.

According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2,100,000 high school and middle school students use e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes deliver a high level of nicotine very quickly, and many e-cigarettes contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. This makes the smoking products very difficult to quit. While much remains to be determined about the lasting health consequences of these products, the Lung Association is very troubled by what we see so far. The inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause lung damage and lung diseases.

If you’re hoping to kick cigarettes for good, then the lung association recommends checking out these resources to successfully quit tobacco:

  1. Lung Helpline: 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.
  2. Talk to your Healthcare Provider: Talking to a healthcare provider about your plan to quit smoking is an important step. With your doctor’s help, you can include cessation medication into your tobacco treatment plan, which can double your chances of quitting successfully. There are seven FDA-approved medications that are proven to help you quit. Most insurance covers these medications without cost-sharing.
  3. Get Help from a Proven Resource: The American Lung Association offers resources to help adults and teens to quit all tobacco products, including Freedom From Smoking to help adults quit, and Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T), which is specially designed for teens who are ready to quit.
  4. Quit. Don’t Switch. E-cigarettes are tobacco products, and the FDA has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. Switching to e-cigarettes does not mean quitting. Quitting means ending your addiction to nicotine.

For additional support, the Wyoming Department of Health offers a free tobacco cessation program. The program’s webpage claims that enrolling in the program triples a person’s likelihood of quitting tobacco. Anyone can enroll online or by calling 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669)

Most health insurance covers medications and counseling to help you quit. If you don’t have insurance, you can enroll until Jan. 15 in most states. For more information, visit the lung association’s enrollment webpage.

Smoking is by far the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. A November report from the ALA found that Wyoming lagged behind other states for lung cancer treatment, including lung cancer screening, surgery and survival rate.

For more information about quitting tobacco, visit the American Lung Association website or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

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