Kicking the Habit: 'Every Try Counts'

New campaign encourages cigarette smokers to keep trying to quit

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new campaign to encourage cigarette smokers to quit. The campaign's primary message is this: Every try counts.

The FDA's “Every Try Counts” campaign targets smokers ages 25 to 54 who attempted to quit smoking in the last year but did not find success. The campaign includes messages that will be displayed in particular locations, including convenience stores where smokers are faced with triggers like cigarette advertisements.

Smoking continues to be one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death in the United States, leading to an estimated 480,000 deaths in the US each year.

“The ‘Every Try Counts’ campaign encourages smokers to rethink their next pack of cigarettes at the most critical of places — the point of sale," said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, in a press release.

Every Try Counts looks to celebrate every quit attempt. This is because research shows that those who have tried to stop smoking before are more likely to try again. And those who have tried to quit smoking several times are more likely to quit for good.

Try the following steps if you are trying to quit smoking:

1) Write a contract indicating your reason for quitting. Are you quitting because you are worried about cancer, you prefer not to smell like smoke, you'd like to save money or to set a good example for your children? Keep the following in mind for your contract:

  • Whatever your reason is, write it down on a piece of paper.
  • You can start your contract off with, "I, (your name), promise to stop smoking, starting (date) because (reason)."
  • Sign your contract in front of a witness. To make your contract stronger, indicate that you will notify your witness if you slip up.

2) Congratulations! You have decided to stop smoking. This is one of the best things you can do for your health. Keep your contract with you so that, each time you pick up a cigarette or have the urge to smoke, you can refer back to your contract and remind yourself of the reasons why you decided to stop smoking. Next, tell your family and friends the great news. You can even ask them to help remind you why you decided to quit when you have the urge to smoke.

3) Remind yourself that it's never too late to quit and you are never too old to quit. The body actually starts to benefit from quitting smoking as soon as 20 minutes after quitting. And the risk for heart attack begins to decrease two weeks to three months after quitting.

4) Speak with your health care provider about developing a quit plan. A quit plan includes addressing your smoking triggers and ways to fight cravings.

5) Identify triggers and develop a plan to deal with cravings. For example, for social triggers (like smoking when going to a bar or social event), avoid going to places where people smoke and ask your family and friends not to smoke around you. When you're dealing with a craving, remember the following:

  • Cravings will typically last five to 10 minutes. It will be uncomfortable, but try to wait it out.
  • Try to distract yourself during cravings by keeping yourself busy. Chew gum, go for a jog or do breathing exercises, for example.

The most important thing to remember is to never give up. Ask your health care provider to help you stop smoking.