On November 15, Danya will join many across the nation in the 2012 Great American Smokeout. This annual event, hosted every third Thursday in November, challenges tobacco users to quit smoking or plan a date to cease their nicotine addiction. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this initiative is an effort to reach out to the more than 46 million smokers in this country to create a “quit plan,” and combat what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterizes as the “largest preventable cause of disease, disability, and premature death in the United States.”
Smoking Cessation Programs Go Digital
The need to create solutions that discourage the use of tobacco has become more urgent. According to the National Cancer Institute, “There is no safe form of tobacco.” The U.S. Surgeon General has also cited that “the way that tobacco is grown, mixed, and processed today has caused cigarettes to become more addictive than ever before—making it even tougher for smokers to quit.”
Along with traditional methods for helping smokers change their habits—such as support groups, quit lines, doctor interventions, and worksite wellness programs—there are a number of tobacco cessation resources available online. Research shows that smokers are most successful in ending their addiction when they have support, so smoking cessation programs are becoming more and more innovative, using social media and digital technology to promote good health. Here are just a few examples:
- BeTobaccoFree.gov — Gathering information from across various departments within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), BeTobaccoFree.gov is a one-stop shop that spans topics about tobacco, its health effects, quit tips, and prevention resources.
- MyQuit Coach – Dare to Quit Smoking Mobile App — The Livestrong MyQuit Coach application helps nicotine users design a personalized plan to help them quit smoking. To keep these users motivated, inspirational photos, tips and progress charts are available to help smokers who want to be quitters stay on track.
- Tips from Former Smokers — The CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign uses the heartbreaking testimonials of tobacco users as a deterrent to tobacco use.
- Smokefree.gov — The Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute developed a number of resources to combat smoking addictions, including an interactive site that offers a step-by-step quit smoking guide, an interactive U.S. map highlighting smoking information by state, and publications to download, print, and order.
- SmokeFreeDonna — Donna Manders, a tobacco cessation specialist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Smoke Free Life Program, uses Twitter to promote smoking cessation.
Danya Helps Smokers Quit
At Danya, we are currently working with CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop a digital media strategy, digital products, and an evaluation model in support of tobacco cessation activities. This project is in keeping with Danya’s long history to create tobacco solutions that improve public health. Our commitment to tobacco cessation has included:
- ASCENT — Local health departments, school systems, community organizations, and parents use this video series as a smoking cessation resource.
- KnowTobacco.net—This site promotes researching, networking, collaborating, and sharing best practices in the fight against tobacco use.
- TeenQuit—This site is dedicated to helping young adults stop smoking. It includes quit e-cards, youth advocacy, quit lines, and real stories about the challenge to quit smoking.
Programs and Initiatives *
- International Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Research Community — The National Institute on Drug Abuse enlisted Danya’s help to create a web resource for advancing substance abuse research through global partnerships.
- National Conference on Tobacco and Health — Danya supports the CDC’s efforts to plan, manage, and evaluate the National Conference on Tobacco and Health.
- Smoke-Free Nairobi — Danya worked with the Institute for Legislative Affairs to research new technologies to encourage a smoke-free Nairobi.
- Tobacco Cessation Programming in Opioid Treatment Programs — Danya supports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
* The websites for the programs and initiatives listed above are best accessed using Internet Explorer.
Stopping the Addiction
The CDC offers a number of resources for smokers interested in changing their lifestyle. This information includes a five-step process that encourages tobacco users to throw away their cigarettes, take note of why they want to quit smoking, make the commitment to quit, get help, and remember the goal to enjoy a healthy, happy new smoke-free life.
Through the dedication, creativity, and commitment to public health, strides can be made to reduce the more than 400,000 tobacco related deaths each year. If you know someone who is struggling with nicotine addiction, use the Great American Smokeout on November 15 to encourage him or her to use the CDC’s five steps and other resources to start on a new path.
By Tracye Poole