A goal to be tobacco-free for the New Year

For tobacco users, the New Year can be a great time to quit smoking. Family and friends can help to support and motivate people in their efforts to quit.

Quitting tobacco can be challenging because nicotine is a highly addictive drug, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges. The good news is that resources are available to help, and the health benefits are immense.

Quitters are most successful when using a combination of therapies, including resources such as nicotine replacement, counseling, self-help materials and a strong support network of family and friends, the MDHHS advises.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline is a service that continues to provide free telephone coaching for the uninsured, pregnant women, residents enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, veterans, cancer patients and American Indians. Free nicotine replacement therapy may be available as well to those who qualify.

New this year is an online, interactive coaching program option. The same program that is available on the phone can now be done online with the Quitline’s specially trained web coaches.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Michigan, killing more than 16,200 residents each year, the MDHHS advises. Thirty percent of cancer deaths in Michigan are attributable to cigarette smoking.

About 19 percent of Michigan adults smoke cigarettes, along with 10.5 percent of high school students in the state. Each year, 4,400 Michigan children become new, daily smokers.

The good news is the benefits of quitting smoking are immediate, according to the American Cancer Society. Within 20 minutes blood pressure drops, and within 24 hours a person’s chance of heart attack decreases. The benefits continue for years, including reduced risk of lung cancer, stroke and heart disease.

For more information, contact the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

COMMENTS