Quitting nicotine is one of the best decisions a person can make for their health. That’s it.

Quitting nicotine is one of the best decisions a person can make for their health. That’s it.

January is a popular month to start making behavioral changes to better yourself in the new year. Some people choose to start going to the gym, reading more, or eating a healthier diet. But of all the possible behavioral changes a person can make, quitting nicotine is one of the best decisions a person can make for his or her health.

Smoking has been shown to cause many health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Quitting nicotine can have benefits for your health and other aspects of your life. It can help lower blood pressure, giving you more energy and breathing capacity to keep up with your kids or family, and it can save you money that can be spent on other healthy activities or hobbies.

Nicotine is the main addictive ingredient in all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, hookahs and chews. However, nicotine is also found in non-tobacco products such as cigarette pouches (Zyn) and e-cigarette devices.

Tobacco use appears to be declining in recent years and becoming less popular among younger generations, possibly due to cultural changes and the stigma of smoking. The decline may also be due to the mistaken belief that switching to e-cigarettes or non-tobacco nicotine products is healthier than smoking.

About 14% of adults in Idaho reported using tobacco in the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey System. According to the Idaho Youth Vaping and Tobacco Survey completed in 2023, 70.6% of teens surveyed reported being exposed to nicotine.

E-cigarette and pouch use continues to increase among smokers who are not ready to give up nicotine for good, but use is also increasing among children and teens who are trying nicotine products for the first time. We are learning more and more every day about e-cigarettes and e-cigarette pouches and the negative impacts these products have on users’ health. When someone sets a goal to quit nicotine, we always encourage people to quit smoking and not switch to e-cigarettes or pouches. If a person is currently vaping or using e-cigarette pouches, they are encouraged to quit those e-cigarettes or e-cigarette pouches as well.

For those who may decide to give up nicotine for good, here are some suggestions:

  • Set a quit date. If you have a vague plan or just say “I’m quitting my job this month,” it’s easy to stray from the commitment you’ve made to yourself.
  • Tell at least one support person that you want to quit smoking. Tell them about your quit day and tell them how they can support you on your quitting journey. It’s proven that having an accountable partner helps people achieve their goals more successfully.
  • Start making small environmental changes. Throwing away ashtrays and/or burned out vaping devices, cleaning out your car, or washing all your laundry before quit day are small changes to your surroundings that can help you stop nicotine use.
  • Request for help. Combining nicotine replacement therapies (such as patches, gum, and lozenges) with behavioral therapies (smoking cessation classes or brief intervention from a professional) has been shown to help people quit smoking more successfully, rather than just suddenly.

To learn more about quitting nicotine, or to get some additional support, check out the following Idaho resources:

  • Central District Health Bureau Smoking Cessation Course: kickitidaho.com
  • Idaho QuitLine (phone and/or text support): Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW

Even if you’ve tried it before, know that quitting nicotine is the best health decision you can make for yourself. The more times a person tries to quit smoking, the more likely it is that they will be successful the next time they try!

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