Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This New Years, Smokers Get 52 Chances to Stay Quit

/PRNewswire/ -- On January 1st millions of Americans will resolve to quit smoking -- again. Yet many will resume their addiction by Groundhog's Day. Now authorities at Johns Hopkins and the American Cancer Society say it doesn't have to be that way. If a quitter falls off the wagon, the pros agree, just quit again the following Monday. And recommit to stay quit each Monday thereafter.

"We know there's a high relapse rate for first-time quitters and that it takes a number of attempts for most people to stop smoking altogether," says Frances Stillman, who co-directs the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Using each Monday to reaffirm their goal of quitting is a sensible way to stay on track," she suggests.

It's simple math. "For most people who quit, it takes from 7 to 10 tries," says Sid Lerner, Chairman of the Quit and Stay Quit Monday Campaign. "We urge smokers to think about it realistically and use the start of each week to recommit to breaking their addiction. If you just try once a year on your birthday or New Years, those "tries" can add up to a decade before you finally quit. But if you try every Monday, and keep at it, chances are good you may succeed within a single year."

"Many smokers will be inspired this New Years to take an important first step towards a smoke-free life. They can use Stay Quit Monday to reinforce their commitment," said Donald Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society, Eastern Division, adding, "If you're resolving to quit, call your American Cancer Society Quitline at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. We can help you stay quit."

Each week participants are encouraged to check in with quitline counselors, online forums, support groups or a non-smoking friend to stay committed to their resolution to quit. Tell your friends, family and co-workers about your resolution -- and ask them to meet up every Monday for a fun, healthful activity!

Your Quit and Stay Quit Monday Toolbox

While quitting is hard, you can get help each week from these helpful resources:

-- Sign up to receive Stay Quit Monday relapse prevention tips at
www.healthymonday.org/stay_quit
-- Take the Smoke-free Monday pledge at women.smokefree.gov
-- Call 1-800-Quit-Now, the national tobacco quitline to talk to experts
for immediate counseling.


Smoking is responsible for nearly one in five deaths in the United States and globally it's the number one cause of preventable death. Dean Michael Klag, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called smoking a big part of a "chronic disease pandemic," adding, "If we sharply reduce tobacco use, it will have a tremendous impact on cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases and other tobacco-related diseases."

The Quit and Stay Quit Monday campaign is a Healthy Monday project of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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