Smoking, vaping, menthol are extremely difficult to quit; American Lung Association offers tips

This time of year, thousands of people across Nevada make resolutions to take on personal challenges, accomplish a significant goal or improve their life for the new year. This year, the American Lung Association in Nevada is encouraging everyone who smokes, vapes or uses other tobacco products to resolve to begin their quit journey in 2024, and provides tips and resources at Lung.org/Quit-Smoking.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease here in Nevada, killing 4,050 people each year. Nationally, 16 million Americans live with a tobacco-related disease. While it’s best to quit as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life.

“15.5 percent of adults living in Nevada smoke and 3.6 percent of high school students use a tobacco product,” said Shannon Proctor, Executive Director with the American Lung Association in Nevada. “We know that breaking the addiction to nicotine is extremely difficult. For most people, it takes multiple attempts to quit tobacco for good. Each quit attempt brings a person closer to reaching their goal. Some tobacco products, like menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes, make quitting even more difficult, so it is critical that people who are ready speak with their healthcare provider about Food and Drug Administration-approved tobacco treatment medications, coupling them with proven effective cessation programs to quit.”

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration is in the process of finalizing rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. Menthol is a chemical compound extracted from peppermint or corn mint plants that makes cigarettes easier to start smoking and harder to quit. Flavored cigars often look similar to cigarettes, attract kids and addict them to tobacco products for a lifetime.

According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2.1 million high school and middle school students use e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes deliver a high level of nicotine very quickly, and many e-cigarettes contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. This makes them very difficult to quit. While much remains to be determined about the lasting health consequences of these products, the Lung Association is very troubled by what we see so far. The inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause lung damage and lung diseases.

Here are some of the tips and resources the American Lung Association recommends to successfully quit tobacco 

  • Lung Helpline:Not sure where to start? Call the Lung Association’s free Lung Helpline and Tobacco Quitline at (800) LUNGUSA, which is staffed with licensed registered nurses, respiratory therapists and certified tobacco treatment specialists.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider:Talking to a healthcare provider about your plan to quit smoking is an important step. With your doctor’s help, you can include cessation medication into your tobacco treatment plan, which can double your chances of quitting successfully. There are seven FDA-approved medications that are proven to help you quit. Most insurance covers these medications without cost-sharing.
  • Get help from a proven resource: The American Lung Association offers resources to help adults and teens to quit all tobacco products, including Freedom From Smoking® to help adults quit, and Not-On-Tobacco® (N-O-T), which is specially designed for teens who are ready to quit.
  • Quit. Don’t Switch.E-cigarettes are tobacco products, and the FDA has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. Switching to e-cigarettes does not mean quitting. Quitting means ending your addiction to nicotine.

For more information about quitting tobacco, visit the American Lung Association website at Lung.org or call the Lung HelpLine at (800) LUNGUSA ((800) 586-4872). Most health insurance covers medications and counseling to help you quit. If you don’t have insurance, you can enroll until Jan. 15 in most states. For more information, visit www.lung.org/openenrollment.

About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call (800) LUNGUSA ((800) 586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.