Many people make New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle. If you use commercial tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco among others, quitting tobacco (or helping someone quit tobacco) may be on your list of New Year’s resolutions. Stopping tobacco use has many health benefits, including lower risks for many types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases (e.g., stroke, heart diseases), and longer life expectancy. However, changing behaviors is hard. Here is a short guide to help achieve your New Year’s resolution to quit tobacco products.
All commercial tobacco products are harmful
The harms of cigarette smoking, as well as smokeless tobacco use, are well documented. Cigar use is also harmful and particularly common among Blacks in the United States. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that e-cigarette use likewise poses health risks.
Some cigarette smokers try to quit smoking by switching from cigarettes to products that they believe to be less harmful than cigarettes. However, no studies to date have shown that such a strategy is effective in quitting cigarette smoking. So, it is important for your health to stop using all commercial tobacco products.
Find your allies
Many tobacco users try to quit tobacco “cold turkey”; that is, they stop using tobacco abruptly without using any cessation aids. It is true that people can quit tobacco solely with willpower, just like people can multiply 5-digit numbers in their head. As calculators make math easier for us, cessation aids, including nicotine gums and patches, prescription medications, and support programs, will make quitting tobacco easier. Unfortunately, compared with non-Hispanic White smokers, minority smokers are less likely to use these cessation aids. Try them out and find the right one that works for you! Smoking cessation support programs are available for free at https://smokefree.gov/.
Read more on NIMHD.gov.