Quitting Smoking: Different
Solutions for Different People
In the never-ending quest to help people
stop smoking, experts are honing in on customized programs for groups
of people with common problems or similar lifestyles.
"Tobacco cessation is no longer
a one-size-fits-all approach," says Paul M. Cinciripini, a
professor at the University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
in Houston. "We now know various groups have specific concerns
and may be motivated to respond by different tobacco cessation programs
Cinciripini gives examples of groups
as diverse as pregnant women, teenagers, Spanish-speaking individuals
and college students, all of which are targeted for different programs
by the cancer center.
For example, Project SUCCESS includes
offering health information about an individual's respiratory symptoms,
lung function and carbon monoxide level to help college students
quit smoking. Currently under way at the University of Houston,
the project uses nicotine-replacement therapy along with both face-to-face
and Internet-based counseling sessions to help students break their
Project ASPIRE, by contrast, is aimed
at urban, minority high school students and uses much more state-of-the-art
technology, primarily because its subjects aren't always as readily
available for counseling as college students, researchers say. ASPIRE's
material is available as a computer-based interactive, multimedia
as well as a Web-based CD-ROM.
Women who quit smoking during pregnancy
but take it up again after the birth of their child present a special
challenge. Smoking relapse rates for postpartum women are high,
with about 80 percent of women resuming smoking by the time their
babies reach their first birthday. The treatment for this group
involves a lot of telephone-based counseling that allows back-and-forth
discussions about issues such as mood changes, stress, support by
friends and family and weight concerns. It focuses principally on
strengthening a woman's motivation to remain a nonsmoker not only
for her own health, but also for the health of the baby.
Another M.D. Anderson smoking cessation
program, Adios al Fumar, is directed toward the Spanish-speaking
population. Its objective is to increase the reach and effectiveness
of smoking cessation services offered in Spanish by the National
Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER).
Adios al Fumar has two principal
approaches. The first uses a wide range of media sources, including
print and broadcast advertising in Spanish-language media outlets
and targeted direct mail, to reach Hispanics who smoke; the second
uses follow-up individualized telephone counseling.
M.D. Anderson isn't the only medical
facility pursuing specialized programming aimed at stopping smoking.
There are hundreds of them.
For example, pediatricians at Children's
Hospital of Pittsburgh recently rolled out a program called Clean
Air Plus for smoking parents of very young children. In addition
to helping the adults achieve improved health by avoiding tobacco
products, the program motivates them by emphasizing the benefits
of protecting their children from secondhand smoke, which is linked
to a wide range of health problems in youngsters, including ear
and respiratory infections.
One of the advantages of the Clear
Air Plus program is that most parents see their child's pediatrician
much more often than they see their own internist or family doctor.
In fact, pediatricians typically see an infant seven times in the
first year of life, and 20 times by the time a child is 5. That
gives doctors many opportunities to offer a parent assistance in
While it's obvious there isn't a
single "stop smoking" formula that works for everyone,
Edwin B. Fisher, a professor of psychology at Washington University
in St. Louis and director of the division for health behavior research
at the university's School of Medicine, offers the following advice:
- Set a clear "quit date"
that makes sense for you personally, such as a birthday or some
other personal milestone. Choose a Monday morning if you smoke
most on the weekends, or a Friday afternoon if you're tempted
most at the office.
- Anticipate the situations in which
you're going to be tempted to relapse, and have a realistic plan
-- not a wish and a prayer -- for how you're going to cope with
- Consider using a nicotine-replacement
device, like gum, a patch, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray or other
medications, for smoking cessation as a way of helping you get
used to life without your favorite tobacco product before you
have to give it up altogether.
- Recruit the help of other people.
No one else can do it for you, but the cooperation and encouragement
of those around you can really help you get a hard job done much
of Michigan Health System has a fact sheet with additional information
about smoking cessation.
Reference Source 101