Quitting smoking remains a major health priority
As we enter 2023, quitting smoking remains one of the most significant steps people can take to improve their long-term health, according to various medical experts. However, quitting is still very difficult for many smokers even with existing aids and support.
In an article by Medriva, Dr. Silvia Novello, President of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, stated: “Tobacco continues to kill more than 8 million people around the world every year. By quitting, people can significantly reduce their risk of developing lung cancer and other diseases.”
Research has shown that smokers who quit before the age of 40 can gain almost 10 years of life expectancy compared to those who continue smoking.
However, many experts note that quitting smoking is extremely challenging. The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, and smokers trying to quit often experience strong cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
More support needed to help smokers quit
While some assistance exists, many medical groups argue that more support is still needed to help smokers quit:
“Far too many smokers still struggle to quit because they don’t have access to proven treatments or resources to help manage nicotine cravings. We urgently need expanded access to counseling, nicotine replacement options, and prescription medications to help smokers quit for good.”
Similar sentiments were expressed in an Eagle Gazette op-ed, where the author notes:
“Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. Most smokers fail multiple times before finally quitting for good. We must continue to improve and expand access to support for smoking cessation, including individualized treatment plans.”
New year sees continued emphasis on quitting smoking
As we begin 2023, several major health organizations have re-emphasized quitting smoking as a top public health priority:
The American Lung Association has launched their 2023 “Quit Smoking” campaign, providing updated online resources and counseling options to support smokers trying to quit.
The American Cancer Society has also highlighted quitting smoking as a key step towards cancer prevention in 2023 and beyond. Their president and CEO stated:
“Quitting smoking remains one of the most significant actions people can take to improve their health and reduce their cancer risk. We will continue expanding access to proven quitting resources and developing new therapies to help smokers quit.”
What does it take to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking is incredibly challenging and often requires multiple attempts before being successful. However, various resources provide guidance on steps smokers can take:
- Get support – Connect with counseling, support groups, or online communities. Accountability and encouragement are key.
- Use nicotine replacement – Patches, gum, and other nicotine substitutes help manage withdrawal symptoms.
- Consider medications – Prescription options like Chantix can also ease cravings.
- Change routines – Identify your smoking triggers and develop alternatives to those routines.
- Don’t get discouraged – Most smokers take many tries before quitting for good. Celebrate small wins along the way.
In one success story covered by CBS News, a woman named Claire described her quit journey:
“It took me five tries before I finally quit for good two years ago. The key for me was using the patch along with regular counseling calls through my state quitline. Having that routine support kept me motivated not to smoke that ‘just one’ cigarette.”
Claire’s story indicates that layered support systems likely provide smokers the best chance of quitting long-term.
Health benefits continue mounting after quitting
For those who are able to quit smoking, numerous studies have shown that health benefits continue mounting over time:
- After 1 day – Blood pressure and heart rate decrease
- After 1 year – Risk of heart disease cuts in half
- After 5 years – Risk of stroke equals a non-smoker
- After 10 years – Lung cancer death rate cut by half
Additional research covered by MSN indicates it’s never too late to quit:
“Those who quit smoking at ages 65, 75, and even 85 gained significant increases in life expectancy over those who continued smoking. I tell my patients it’s truly never too late to quit.”
So while quitting smoking at any age can be extremely difficult, the health benefits make it an essential goal for 2023 and beyond.
Ongoing support and research key priorities
As various health groups have indicated, supporting smokers in their efforts to quit must remain a top public health priority. Some key focus areas in 2023 include:
- Improving access and affordability of existing quitting aids
- Broadening state and federal funding of quitline counseling services
- Developing new prescription medications and nicotine replacement options
- Running public health campaigns to educate smokers on quitting benefits
Additionally, ongoing research as highlighted by WebMD remains crucial to drive continued progress:
“While quit attempts have increased, overall smoking rates remain higher than public health goals. Further research on smoking behaviors and effective cessation methods will provide additional tools in the fight against tobacco-related disease.”
Through combined efforts across these areas, public health groups are optimistic that more smokers can successfully quit in 2023 and beyond. But continued focus and funding remains critical to making meaningful progress.
Quitting smoking remains one of the best steps people can take to improve long-term health outcomes. However, over 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Making meaningful progress towards national smoking reduction goals will require expanding access to counseling, medication options, and general awareness of quitting benefits. Sustained efforts across health organizations, government agencies, and local communities can help more smokers quit in 2023.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.