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How A Smoker To Become An EX

Armen Hareyan's picture

Most smokers in America - 70 percent - want to quit, but in 2000, only about five percent were successful in quitting long-term. Quitting smoking is ultimately one of the single most important lifestyle changes one can make to improve and extend their lives. Tobacco-related death is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.; smokers therefore need to be armed with all the available information to make the best, most informed choices about the smoking cessation medications and resources available to them.

In 2006-2007, The American Legacy Foundation, the national public health foundation best known for its truth youth-smoking prevention campaign pilot tested EX in four markets throughout the country, Buffalo, NY; San Antonio, TX; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Baltimore, Md. As a result of the successful pilot program, Legacy has brought together several national organizations and 14 states to form the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation (NATC) and launch EX nationally. The NATC is a growing group of states, non-profit organizations, foundations and corporations, all dedicated to helping people quit smoking.

Founding members of the NATC include:

-- The American Cancer Society

-- The American Heart Association

-- National Cancer Institute

-- The American Legacy Foundation

-- C-Change

-- The Mayo Clinic

-- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

-- The Association of State and Health Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

-- Arkansas Department of Health

-- Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco Education and Prevention

-- Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation

-- The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living

-- Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health Tobacco Control Program

-- Missouri Foundation for Health

-- New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention and Control Program

-- New York Department of Health

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-- North Carolina Division of Public Health

-- North Dakota Department of Health

-- Division of Tobacco Prevention & Control

-- Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust

-- Center for Health Promotions

-- Oregon Public Health Division

-- Department of Human Services

-- Tobacco Prevention and Education Program

-- Rhode Island Department of Health

-- Washington State Department of Health

-- Tobacco Prevention and Control Program

-- Wyoming Department of Health

All of these organizations agree that while smokers may know why they should quit, many just don't know how. Therefore, EX steers away from focusing solely on the reasons for quitting and instead empowers smokers to use FREE resources and methods that have been proven to increase smokers' chances of quitting successfully.

"Most smokers who want to quit do not understand what it takes to conquer their nicotine addiction, or they underestimate how powerful that addiction can be," says American Legacy Foundation President and CEO Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H. "The approach provided by EX changes that equation by showing them how they can quit - namely by combining coaching, pharmacotherapy and social support, so that smokers have the support that they need at the times when they're most likely to crave a cigarette and smoke."

EX tools were designed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and with input from former and current smokers who have lived with this struggle, in order to provide smokers with a realistic approach based on evidence based research.

The BecomeAnEX.org Web site brings the "re-learn" idea to life, offering action-oriented content and videos to help smokers re-learn all aspects of their smoking addiction. The site helps users develop a personalized quit plan that includes medication and support, plus it gives them an opportunity to practice breaking the "glue" between cigarettes and their associated triggers, before they actually stop smoking. Those visiting the site will be able to:

-- Create customized quit plans - including selecting a quit date, determining their own smoking "triggers" and developing a program that best suits their individual needs. By helping smokers gain a holistic understanding of their smoking behavior, the EX website will help smokers be better prepared for the difficulties that may lie ahead after throwing away that last pack.

-- Connect to a virtual support group that allows those who are trying to quit share their experiences and challenges. Social support is a significant factor in helping smokers quit successfully.

-- Learn more about pharmacotherapy resources, such as nicotine replacement patches, lozenges, gum and prescription medications. These products can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings during the short term, and allow smokers to deal with the behavior changes needed to make sure they stay off cigarettes for good.

-- Link to quit-smoking resources in Alliance states.