LUMBERTON — If you want to quit smoking, the odds are against you. And they are stacked high.
Success rates fluctuate between 9 and 32 percent, according to the University of California San Francisco’s Smoking Cessation Leadership Center. Tobacco users who use a self-help method have the lowest rate of success at around 10 percent, while those who choose a combination of counseling and medication services are more successful, but only around 30 percent.
On a national scale, the American Lung Association runs an online program that walks people through educational exercises and self-help strategies to quit smoking.
“Our work is focused on five strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases; and to accelerate fundraising and enhance organizational effectiveness to support the urgency of our mission,” said Britney Reddick, communications manager for the association’s Southeast region.
The program also educates parents on how to prevent their children from smoking.
Several national counseling services, such as 1-800-QUIT-NOW, offer free cessation assistance for tobacco users.
The Robeson County Health Department and Southeastern Health provide tobacco cessation treatment on a local level.
Several over-the-counter options exist for those not seeking in-person treatment.
Nicotine gum mitigates the urge to smoke and is sold in 10-packs at most drug stores for around $4.50, according to Everyday Health.
The gum releases nicotine into the bloodstream at a smaller rate than cigarettes. The amount of nicotine is enough to curb withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and restlessness, but it does not include the harmful chemicals that are inhaled by cigarette smokers, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Nicotine skin patches have the same effect, but the nicotine is delivered through the skin and into the bloodstream rather than orally. The patches come in three strengths to accommodate different levels of addiction.