NEW NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAM SHOWS SMOKERS HOW TO BECOME AN EX®
Missouri Signs On As Founding Member Of National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – An alliance of national organizations and state health agencies, including the Missouri Foundation for Health, launched an unprecedented new quit smoking public health campaign today in Washington, D.C. Not since the Fairness Doctrine was applied to anti-tobacco messages in 1968-1970 have so many public health organizations aligned to promote a concerted smoking cessation message to the public at large. The program, called EX®, will change the way smokers feel about the difficult process of quitting and guide them to valuable resources to build a successful quit attempt.
This new public education effort will encourage the 23.3 percent of Missouri adults who smoke to approach quitting smoking as “re-learning life without cigarettes.” EX provides smokers with information that can help them prepare for a quit attempt by re-learning 1) their thinking on the behavioral aspects of smoking and how different smoking triggers can be overcome with practice and preparation; 2) their knowledge of addiction and how medications can increase their chances for quitting success; and 3) their ideas of how support from friends and family members can play a critical role in quitting.
The program also offers smokers a new Web site, www.BecomeAnEX.org, which features action-oriented tools and information to help smokers prepare for quitting by developing a personalized plan, as well as a virtual community, where smokers can share stories and best practices about their quit attempt.
The Missouri Foundation for Health will enhance the national EX campaign with additional event support, advertising, and distribution of helpful information specifically for Missouri. These efforts beginning in late April will feature the Missouri Quitline and focus on helping individuals “Become An Ex”.
“Encouraging healthy habits throughout Missouri is our priority,” said Jane Drummond, Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services. “ The new “Become An EX” program helps our efforts by supporting smokers who want to quit, and we are pleased the Missouri Foundation for Health is bringing the EX campaign to our state.”
Most smokers in America – 70 percent – want to quit, but in 2000, only about five percent were successful in quitting long term. Quitting smoking is ultimately one of the single most important lifestyle changes one can make to improve and extend his or her life. Tobacco-related death is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.; therefore, smokers need to be armed with all the available information to make the best, most informed choices about the smoking cessation medications and resources available to them
“Most smokers who want to quit do not understand what it takes to conquer their nicotine addiction, or they underestimate how powerful that addiction can be,” said Legacy president and CEO Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H. “The approach provided by EX changes that equation by showing them how they can quit – namely by combining coaching, pharmacotherapy and social support, so that smokers have the support that they need at the times when they’re most likely to crave a cigarette and smoke.”
EX tools were designed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and with input from former and current smokers who have lived with this struggle, in order to provide smokers with a realistic approach based on evidence based research.