Kicking the habit—or never starting—is getting easier than ever.
CIGARETTES AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS may one day be less addictive, based on plans released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the summer of 2022. The FDA’s proposal to cap nicotine levels could prevent addiction in young people, who are the most susceptible—two-thirds of adults who smoke daily started smoking daily before they were 18—and could lessen the detrimental effects for those who already smoke or help them quit altogether.
Although the proposed plan is still in the early stages, other options are currently available for those looking to stop smoking.
- Don’t discount the value of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies. Available in the form of chewing gum, lozenges, patches, and more, these products contain low amounts of nicotine to curb cravings and have helped many, many users gradually and discreetly limit their nicotine intake until they were able to quit altogether and stay nicotine-free.
- The prescription medications bupropion and varenicline can help smokers kick the habit without the use of nicotine of any amount. Both can lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
- The West Virginia Tobacco Quitline is a telephone number staffed by counselors who are trained specifically to help smokers quit.
Given the susceptibility of young people to nicotine, early intervention is critical to reducing future addiction: 41% of West Virginia teens were using tobacco products in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth prevention programs like Raze and Truth Initiative bring awareness to teen smoking and break down the ways in which tobacco companies target teens. As sources of early education and prevention, these organizations are a valuable resource in reducing the state’s future rates of nicotine addiction.
The good news for smokers is that it truly is never too late to quit. Even after years of smoking, the body begins the recovery process immediately, according to the American Cancer Society. Within 20 minutes after a cigarette, a smoker’s heart rate and blood pressure drop back to normal—and within 10 years of quitting, the risk of being diagnosed with many smoking-associated cancers has decreased significantly.
Smoking Cessation and Prevention Resources
West Virginia Tobacco Quitline
wvtobaccoquitline.com, or text 304.583.4010
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