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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Start the New Year smoke-free

Start the New Year smoke-free

Smoking Cessation Trust offers quit tips for Louisiana smokers

NEW ORLEANS – As 2016 draws to an end and many people begin to make New Year’s resolutions, one resolution that consistently appears at the top of many lists is “quitting smoking.”

Louisiana currently ranks 43 (up three spots from 46 in 2015) out of 50 states for tobacco use according to the recently released 2016 America’s Health Rankings® Report from the United Health Foundation. Presently, 21.9% (24% in 2015) of the state’s adult population lights up.

The U.S. average for adult smokers is now 17.5% (18.1% in 2015). The state’s overall health ranking is now 49, up one spot from 50 in 2015.

“In spite of a smoking ban in Orleans Parish, an increased cigarette tax and HUD mandating that public housing go smoke-free beginning in 2017, Louisiana citizens continue to smoke in larger than average numbers,” said Mike Rogers, CEO, Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services. “To that end, the Trust continues to help people face their challenges by offering eligible smokers free products and services that could help them kick the addiction. To date, the Smoking Cessation Trust has enrolled nearly 64,000 members.

In addition to helping restore smokers’ health, the Smoking Cessation Trust can help smokers save hundreds of dollars annually, as smoking becomes a progressively more expensive habit to support.

Also, applying for benefits only takes a few minutes. Louisiana residents who smoked a cigarette before Sept. 1, 1988 and who are approved for inclusion in the Trust program receive completely free services that include: cessation medications (such as Zyban® and Chantix®) nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray), individual/group cessation counseling, telephone quit-line support, and/or intensive cessation support services.

By using these services, evidence suggests that participants will increase the success rate of attempts to stop smoking cigarettes (on average, it takes 8-11 quit attempts), and may successfully quit—for good.

As 2017 approaches, below are five quit steps from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which the Smoking Cessation Trust believes could help Louisiana smokers ring in the New Year cigarette-free:

Step 1: Set a quit date: Pick a date—like the start of the New Year—to quit smoking. This will give you enough time to prepare. Really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke (for example, a night out with friends, days where you may smoke at work).

Step 2: Tell family and friends that you are trying to quit: Telling family, friends and coworkers about a quit attempt can increase a smoker’s chances of success. By sharing what kind of support a smoker is looking for – either encouragement or accountability – the loved one can be involved in the process.

The more people a smoker has in his corner, the more likely he is to succeed. Have a spouse or friend who wants to quit too? Do it together!

Step 3: Plan for challenges while quitting: Stopping smoking is not just about dealing with nicotine cravings. Many smokers need to work through the habitual tendencies surrounding cigarette use. By going to a group workshop run by a certified tobacco treatment specialist (“CTTS”) smokers can learn how to work through cravings and triggers like stress, boredom and nervousness without reaching for a cigarette.

Many major hospitals in the area offer cessation counseling, contact the Trust for a full list.

Step 4: Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car and work: You will be tempted to smoke during your quit. Stay strong; you can do it! Removing things that remind you of smoking will get you ready to quit. A few good ideas are:

Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Give or throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Remember the ashtray and lighter in your car!

Don't save one pack of cigarettes “just in case.” Keeping even one pack just makes it easier to start smoking again.

Remove the smell of cigarettes from your life. Make things clean and fresh at work‚ in your car‚ and at home. Clean your drapes and clothes. Shampoo your car interior. You will be less tempted to light up if you don't smell smoke.

Have your dentist clean your teeth to get rid of smoking stains. Your teeth will look amazing. When you quit smoking, they will always look that way.

Step 5: Talk with your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or pharmaceutical help: Smokers should discuss cessation treatments with their doctor. The Smoking Cessation Trust provides access to all recommended cessation methods; knowing an individual’s medical history, the doctor can suggest and prescribe pharmaceuticals or a nicotine replacement therapy that will work best for each smoker. Doctors can also talk about the benefits of quitting and what to expect.

For more information, to see testimonials of former smokers or to sign up for the Smoking Cessation Trust visit or call: 504-529-5665 or toll free 1-855-259-6346.