Breaking Smoking Addiction an Endurance Effort for Some, Lung Association Offers Support along the Way to Smokefree Finish Line
Quitting smoking essential for health, American Lung Association encourages men to go smokefree during National Men's Health Week, offers proven effective quit smoking methods
(June 12, 2017) - CHICAGO
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The American Lung Association encourages everyone to take action to be healthy, and one of the most important commitments you can make for your health is to live a smokefree life. However, men are more likely to smoke than women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so during National Men's Health Week, June 12-18, the American Lung Association challenges men and boys to make health a priority and live tobacco-free, whether committing to live smokefree or quit smoking.
"One of the best things you can do for your health is to not smoke, and if you do, remember it's never too late to quit," said the American Lung Association National Director of Tobacco Programs Bill Blatt, M.P.H. "In fact, quitting smoking is the single most important step a smoker can take to improve the length and quality of his or her life. As soon as you quit, your body begins to repair the damage caused by smoking almost immediately. While quitting early in life is best, the important thing is to quit, as it dramatically improves your health, regardless of your age."
Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits, according to the Lung Association. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, lung disease and other smoking-related illnesses including lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women.
Despite these health benefits, most tobacco users find it a challenge to quit. For Chicago native Tyrone Stewart, he began smoking at a young age, and in his youth hoped it would be a show of independence and strength, and quickly found himself addicted to tobacco.
"In reality, addiction to tobacco didn't make me look or feel stronger or more independent. In fact, I found myself on the opposite end—dependent on nicotine," said Stewart. "This was the opposite of where I wanted to be, and I wanted to quit to get my freedom back, and for my health."
The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, according to the American Lung Association, which is part of why it can be so tough to quit. On average, it takes a smoker 8 to 11 quit attempts before they are smokefree for good. For Stewart, he was finally able to quit with the support of the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine.
"It took determination and strength to overcome the addiction and finally quit," Stewart said. "It's one of my greatest accomplishments."
"Tobacco addiction is complex, and it takes most smokers several attempts to quit for good, but the important thing is to not back down and to keep trying," Blatt said. "You could even consider quitting smoking a challenge of endurance, and like other major goals in life—whether training for a marathon, embarking on a new career path or learning a new skill—if you slip up, dig deep and find the strength you didn't know you had to push through and achieve your goal."
Quitting smoking is easier with support, said Blatt, who recommends people incorporate proven effective methods and support, such as seeking guidance from a healthcare provider, developing a quit plan, and getting support along the way through the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program or toll-free Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA).
"Consultation with a healthcare provider, which can include medication and counseling, can set you up for a successful quit attempt. However, you should also have a plan in place for how to deal with cravings and other situations that might derail your efforts," said Blatt. "This is where a program like Freedom From Smoking can be essential, as it will help you identify lifestyle changes to support quitting, figure out ways to better manage stress, and offer a supportive environment to help with hurdles along the way."
To learn more about proven quit smoking tools and resources available from the American Lung Association, visit Lung.org/stop-smoking.
"Quitting isn't easy, but when it comes to your health, it's a worthy goal and a critical one. Stand strong and push through till you quit smoking for good," Blatt said. "The Lung Association is there to set you up for success with proven resources and support to help you along the way."
For media interested in speaking with former smokers or an expert about lung health, quitting smoking support and expert advice and tobacco use, trends and policies, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.