When it comes to New Year’s resolutions there a consistent few that always top the list: lose weight, exercise more and quit smoking. Though losing weight and exercising more can often be accomplished by well, exercising more, quitting tobacco carries a much more challenging burden.
“Most people know smoking is bad for them, but they still struggle to quit,” said Dr. Tista Ghosh, interim chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a release. “Lots of Coloradans feel like a healthy life is out of reach, but they can quit by using free support available to them.”
Much of that support comes through the Colorado QuitLine which has introduced free online resources to assist those with the desire to leave smoking in the past.
“As the needs and preferences of smokers change, QuitLine services are changing to meet those demands,” said Thomas Ylioja, clinical director for the Colorado QuitLine in a release. “We’ve added new features such as e-coaching, where clients can chat with a coach online rather than over the phone, if that’s what they’d prefer. Or, they can enroll online in a few minutes and receive coaching calls over the phone. Clients also can order nicotine patches or gum online and get it delivered to their door for free.”
Aside from the health benefits of decreasing or stopping tobacco consumption all together, there are also financial incentives offered by many health care providers to help push smokers toward their goal of quitting.
“My heart health got to a point where I knew I needed to quit, but just was not having much success doing it on my own,” said Brad Smith a Denver resident who had been smoking for most of his 48 years until last year when he finally quit for good. “Part of it was knowing the financial benefits. I knew my health insurance premiums would decrease off the bat, but I still needed some outside help.”
Smith got that outside help from his brother who had quit smoking four years earlier, but not everyone has that benefit, which is why Colorado has multiple support outlets for those who want to quit smoking in 2019.
The aforementioned Colorado QuitLine is available both by phone and online. The often advertised 1-800-QUIT-NOW phone number still remains a staple for the QuitLine, particularly for those who want to speak with someone directly rather than going online.
The Colorado QuitLine also offers a website where clients can enroll to receive e-coaching, and offers such as four weeks of free patches, gum or lozenges. The support is also available on multiple platforms including phone, tablet and computer.
Tobacco Free Colorado is a free website with interactive content and tips for people at every stage of the quitting path.
Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in Colorado, so outlets for support to quit continue to pop up around the state.
Members of Colorado’s Medicaid Program, Health First Colorado, for example, can access counseling and medications to quit smoking at no cost. In Colorado, Medicaid providers can now prescribe medications to quit smoking without prior approval. Pharmacists also can prescribe smoking cessation medications to help patients manage symptoms and increase their opportunities for success.
“At the end of the day, it’s really up to the individual,” Smith said. “There have always been programs available to help people quit smoking and the medications have been around for decades. But it’s the person who has to make the decision, seek the help need and stick to that goal to quit.”
For more information on the programs available to Coloradans visit coquitline.org, tobaccofree.org, healthfirstcolorado.org.