This Thanksgiving season, I’d like to remind readers to thank a co-worker, friend or family member who has quit smoking, vaping, or using other nicotine delivery products. Many users say quitting is the hardest thing they have ever done and any amount of recognition can help someone stay quit.
Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Massachusetts. Nicotine is the very addictive substance in tobacco products as well as in e-cigarettes and vapes. As a result, repeated tobacco and nicotine use is not a habit, it’s an addiction that should be treated as a chronic relapsing condition. It takes most people with a nicotine addiction several tries to quit for good. So reach out to those who have conquered this addiction. Let them know you are proud of how hard they’re working to better their wellbeing. Thank them for improving their health and the health of the people around them.
If you smoke, vape or use any nicotine delivery product, even though the holidays can be a tough time to quit, they are a great time to get support from your loved ones to help you try to quit. If you have tried in the past, keep trying. You learn something new every time you try to quit. Take advantage of the many resources available in Massachusetts to help you reach your goal.
Tobacco and nicotine users of all kinds can call the Massachusetts Smokers Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to talk with a free quit coach or enroll online through KeepTryingMA.org. The helpline is open 24 hours each day, seven days a week (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas). Tobacco and nicotine users can receive a four-week supply of free nicotine replacement help from the patch, gum or lozenge. Online supports include quit planning tools, peer support and motivational text messages.
Smokers who get support and use stop-smoking medicines are nearly three times as likely to quit for good as those who try to quit on their own. Quitting is hard — give thanks to someone in your life for quitting or for trying to quit. Every email, text message, phone call, or encouraging word makes a difference.
Diane Knight is the director of the Northeast Tobacco Free Community Partnership.