NMC Commentary

Is There Free Help to Quit Smoking?

Yes, there is!  As we begin a new year, it is a natural time to think of embracing healthier habits and improving our health.  Quitting smoking can be a wonderful step towards better health – and one which saves you money, as well.  Fortunately, there is a wide range of free help available to help you take this step forward.

Here in Vermont, the website www.802quits.org provides a comprehensive listing of the free help available to help Vermonters quit smoking.  You have access to free gum, patches and lozenges which can be delivered to your home to help with nicotine replacement to help with quitting.  The website shares three ways to get free nicotine replacement (the gum, patches and lozenges): you can register online through the website, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) to sign up, or you can meet with a Vermont Quit Partner in person and that person can help you access the support you need.

Speaking of Quit Partners, do you want to “double your chances of success”?  They say using nicotine replacement therapy “with help from a Vermont Quit Partner or Quit Help by Phone” actually doubles your chances of success.  That’s a boost in odds that everyone can use!  Through www.802quits.org, you can access a variety of personal support to assist you in your efforts to quit tobacco.  Here in our community, Chari Andersen, RN, of NMC’s Lifestyle Medicine, is your personal Quit Partner.  You can reach Chari by calling (802) 524-8480 or emailing her at [email protected].  Chari has a wonderful way with people and has helped many people in our community quit tobacco.  If you are thinking of making a quit attempt, please contact Chari – and double your chances of success! Support is also available by telephone through 802quits by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW and there is even online help for those who prefer a web-based approach.

As an additional layer of support, 802quits.org provides a “Quit On Your Own” section with tip, tools, and advice to get you started.  They have created a “checklist of things you can do to prepare yourself to quit” which includes:

  1. “Pick a quit date. Circle it on your calendar and leave reminder notes on your desk, your refrigerator, near your phone, in your car.”
  2. “As you get close to your quit date, try cutting back on how much you smoke a little every day.”
  3. “Start getting rid of smoking items in your home, such as ashtrays, lighters and extra packs of smokes.”
  4. “Clean your home and car so the smell of cigarettes won’t tempt you once you quit.”
  5. “Think about when you usually have your first smoke of the day and try to delay that for as long as you can.”
  6. “Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit and keep the list handy for when you feel a craving.”
  7. “Tell your family and friends that you’re going to quit and ask them not to smoke in front of you.”
  8. “Think about the places you normally smoke. If you can avoid them once you quit, it’ll help keep you from getting tempted.”
  9. “If you’ve tried to quit before and didn’t make it, think about what made you slip up and try something different.”
  10. “Make a list of three friends you can rely on for support. When you feel a craving or get stressed out, give one of them a call.”

This is a great checklist to guide to making this significant step forward in your health – and remember, you do not have to go it alone.  Resources are available for free to you and people like Chari are standing by ready to help.  If you are interested in improving your health by quitting tobacco and saving the money you spend on smoking for things which bring you more joy, reach out today.  As Franklin and Grand Isle Counties come together to embrace healthier lifestyles and rise to a future of better health and lower healthcare costs long-term, quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Check out www.802quits.org and contact Chari Andersen in NMC Lifestyle Medicine at (802) 524-8480 or at [email protected].

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC Chief Executive Officer