Thursday, November 16th, marks the 48th Great American Smokeout, a day set aside for smokers and other tobacco users to abstain for at least one day, in hopes that people will quit completely. The idea began in 1971 when Arthur Mullaney, a Massachusetts resident, asked people to quit smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a local school. Shortly after Monticello Times editor Lynn Smith led Minnesota’s first “D-Day” (Don’t Smoke Day), the American Cancer Society’s California chapter encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day on November 18, 1976. Due to the success in California, the ACS took the event nationwide in 1977, maintaining the third Thursday in November as the target date.
From the late 1980’s to the 1990’s, many state and local governments raised taxes on cigarettes, limited promotions, discouraged teen cigarette use, and took further action to counter smoking. States with strong tobacco control laws witnessed a 42% decrease in adult smoking.
Research shows that smokers are most successful in “kicking the habit” when they have some means of support, such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, prescription medicines to lessen cravings, guide books, and the encouragement of friends and family members.
“Chew on This: The Need to Engage Your Mouth and Hands After Quitting,” article by the Quitter’s Circle Staff on 3/10/15 cites that a common theme among ex-smokers and those trying to quit, can be fidgety hands and the need to chew gum, toothpicks, or other foods. Some quitters miss the sensation of a cigarette in their hands or between their teeth. Testimonials often reveal that smokers become used to having a cigarette in their mouths. The habit of picking up a cigarette and placing it between one’s lips becomes a routine of comfort. In addition, the habit of moving one’s hand from cigarette to mouth is repeated so often that quitters and those attempting to quit feel the need to do something with their hands. This article is one of many that contains this kind of information.
In light of this, it would stand to reason that e-cigarettes are not an effective cessation tool for most people, as the hand-to-mouth habit of using an e-cigarette reinforces the behavior that potential quitters are aiming to break. The use of an e-cigarette, which replicates the experience of smoking, may be a drawback to quitting. Harvey B. Simon, MD, editor of “Harvard Health,” stated in an article dated 9/22/11 that, “By simulating the cigarette experience, e-cigarettes may reactivate the habit in ex-smokers.”
Although smoking rates have dropped, thirty-eight million Americans still smoke, and half will encounter smoking related deaths. According to the ACS, 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is smoking related, and 87% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death, is also the most preventable. If you would like to “kick the habit”, but you are not sure what steps to take, call the Allegany Council at 585-593-1920, x 713, for tips on how to quit and stay quit. Assistance is also available for users of smokeless tobacco. New York residents can also visit the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for resources or call 1-866-697-8487.
Don’t allow yourself to become a replacement smoker or a statistic…join millions of Americans today on a journey to a healthier you!