New Smoking Cessation Campaign in Richmond Offers Support for the "Quitter in You"

American Lung Association in Virginia and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Partner to Help Smokers Quit

(August 21, 2013)

The American Lung Association in Virginia and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield are supporting smokers in Richmond, Va., in their efforts to quit for good through the “Quitter in You” smoking cessation campaign.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded the American Lung Association in Virginia $72,000 as part of a total $1.5 million donation to the American Lung Association by Anthem’s parent company in support of the program.

The campaign aims to empower people trying to quit smoking by acknowledging that past quit attempts are not failures, but are normal and necessary steps along the way to quitting for good.  A survey from the American Lung Association found that six out of 10 former smokers were not able to successfully quit on their first try and required multiple attempts to quit smoking for good.

“We want smokers to think about their past quit attempts as practice for the time that they will quit for good. Anyone can quit smoking and the American Lung Association has a number of resources available to help people quit,” said Dennis Alexander, Regional Executive Director, American Lung Association in Virginia.   

"Quitting smoking is one of the most powerful changes a person can make for their health, but it's not easy. Studies show it typically takes several attempts before most smokers quit for good, so it's important that a person not give up," said Jay Schukman, M.D., Anthem’s chief medical director. "The American Lung Association's Quitter in You smoking cessation initiative helps educate and empower people trying to quit smoking, bringing them one step closer to success."

More than 1.5 million people in Virginia, 20.8 percent of the state population, smoke according to 2011 data.  A survey from the American Lung Association found that most smokers are not successful the first time they try to quit, but with each quit attempt they become a little wiser about what to do and not do the next time. The “Quitter in You” campaign aims to change the way people think about past quit attempts and motivate them to try again.  A quit attempt is defined as not smoking for at least one day with the intent of not starting again.

In Richmond, Freedom From Smoking® clinics are held year-round at Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital, Johnston-Willis Hospital. To register for the upcoming clinic starting on October 2, call 804-330-2323. Those looking to quit can also access smoking cessation services through Freedom From Smoking® Online (www.ffsonline.org) and Freedom From Smoking® Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA).

The “Quitter in You” campaign features a web site at www.quitterinyou.org, radio and Out-of-Home public service announcements, and a wealth of personalized tools and support from the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA), Freedom From Smoking® Online and Freedom From Smoking® in-person clinic.  The campaign is focused in 14 target markets, including Richmond, Va.

The “Quitter in You” campaign is also reaching Spanish-speaking communities with a Spanish-language web site (www.elganadorenti.org), radio public service announcements, Freedom From Smoking® cessation resources, as well counseling and one-on-one support from Spanish-speaking registered nurses, respiratory therapists and trained smoking cessation counselors through the Lung Helpline (1-800-LUNG-USA).

The “Quitter in You” campaign is made possible through funding from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Helping more Americans quit smoking remains a top public health priority for the American Lung Association. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 43 million American adults are current smokers. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of “secondhand” exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens. Smoking costs the United States more than $193 billion each year, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,446 per adult smoker.