Fewer Smoke Cigarettes, though Nicotine Use is Up
After a half-century of research and public health education around tobacco use, cigarette smoking is on the decline. Most Americans can name at least one harmful effect or health problem linked to smoking. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of cigarette-smoking adults dropped to just 14 percent in 2017.
Despite these positive trends, nicotine use is surging as more people turn to e-cigarettes and other devices, often with the mistaken impression that they eliminate health risks associated with smoking.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) devices, such as e-cigs, e-pipes, vapes, vape-pens, hookah pens, and JUUL, are usually battery powered, contain an aerosol generator and flow sensor, and require e-liquid or an attached nicotine cartridge.
Although ENDS products were designed to help people quit cigarette smoking, health professionals are now concerned these devices may create new nicotine-dependent users, who, like generations before them, may face years of nicotine addiction. This is especially dangerous for youth whose brains are still under development until around age 25.
What can you do to stop smoking or vaping? Here are five steps to help break nicotine addiction:
- If you need help quitting, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Call your doctor or contact a tobacco dependence specialist for help.
- Know that there are many different treatments your doctor can prescribe to help you become tobacco or nicotine-free, including FDA-approved medications and nicotine replacement therapy.
- If a friend or loved one smokes or vapes, support their efforts to stop, and find time to enjoy tobacco-free activities together, such as walking outside, watching a movie or cooking a healthy meal.
- Call a quit line coach at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Be patient in the process—this is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, skill and practice to become a non-smoker again. You can do it!
If you are deciding or trying to quit tobacco use, the Center for Community Health & Prevention offers services to help*. To learn more, call (585) 530-2050.
*A note to University of Rochester employees: These services are available through Well-U to eligible UR employees and their spouses/domestic partners.
Anne Sammler, BSEd, MA, is a tobacco counselor with the Center for Community Health & Prevention and Well-U. She is passionate about public health, and worked previously as a health educator in the Rochester City School District. Her experience and interests include tobacco cessation, lifestyle management, and chronic disease prevention.
Lori Barrette |