Smokers who aim to quit as part of today’s Great American Smokeout will be able to use more high tech methods. Some American Cancer Society chapters are using personal digital assistants, or PDAs, that are pre-loaded with smoking cessation tools to help smokers whip the urge.
Chuck Reed, spokesman for the Des Moines chapter, says wanna-be non-smokers can take the first step online. Visit the website, www.cancer.org, and you’ll find all sorts of tools that will help you quit, including a digital clock, which may aid you in getting past the cravings. He also recommends calling the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to be put in touch with a counselor who can offer a host of tips on successfully "kicking butts."
If it’s not today, Reed says smokers need to pick a day and plan to quit, using all the available tools. Reed says several cessation products are coming out, including the new drug Chantax. He says when the drug is used in combination with cessation counseling, there’s been about a 40-percent success rate, which he calls "tremendous."
While this is the 31st annual Smokeout, he notes this is the first year it’s been held since Iowa raised its cigarette taxes a-dollar-a-pack. Reed says that tax hike put a big dent in the number of Iowa smokers.
"We’ve seen smoking decrease in the state. Calls to the Quitline are up three-to-four fold. We see a great number of people who are wanting to quit smoking and the revenue side of it is right what we expected," Reed says.
Iowa also offers a free, alternative smoking cessation hotline, Quitline Iowa, at 800-Quit Now. Health officials say people who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke.