Today marks the 37th Great American Smokeout. Smokers ready to beat their addiction may be wondering which smoking cessation approach works best. The answer isn’t that simple—which is why quitting isn’t easy.
Studies tell us that there’s not really one way but a combination of methods that has the highest success rate. Also, the mix of therapies is highly individualized because components of addiction—chemical, social and emotional-- varies greatly from person to person.
So, what worked well for your friend who quit may not work for you. Self knowledge and an honest discussion with your doctor is the first step in determining the best treatment approach for you.
Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt without medicines or other help.
Studies in medical journals have reported that about 25% of smokers who use medicines can stay smoke-free for over 6 months. Counseling and other types of emotional support can boost success rates higher than medicines alone. There’s also early evidence that combining some medicines may work better than using a single drug.
Behavioral and supportive therapies may increase success rates even further. They also help the person stay smoke-free.
If at First You Don’t Succeed
Quitting is hard and the truth is smoking cessation programs, like other programs that treat addictions, are not always successful on the first try. But that doesn’t mean they are not worthwhile or that you should be discouraged. Your own success in quitting and staying that way is what really counts.
Even if you don’t succeed the first few times, keep trying. You can learn from your mistakes and be ready to address them the next time.
Telephone stop-smoking hotlines are an easy-to-use resource, and they are available in all 50 states. Call The American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find telephone counseling or other support in your area.
Most health insurance companies cover the cost of these programs. When you consider the health benefits and cost savings of being smoke free, can you afford not to quit?
American Cancer Society