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New Poll Finds Millions Of Smokers Nationwide Resolving To Quit In The New Year

Although underutilized (or overlooked), healthcare providers can provide helpful support and tools to increase a smoker's chance of quitting

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New results from a national online public opinion poll of Americans 18 and older show that 34 percent of smokers plan to quit smoking as a New Year's resolution in 2013. Among survey respondents, only 18 percent reported that quitting smoking was a New Year's resolution in 2012, yet twice as many of these respondents will resolve to quit in 2013. The poll showed that increasing costs of cigarettes (67 percent) and concerns about the health risks associated with smoking (58 percent) are two of the key factors motivating smokers to contemplate quitting as a resolution for 2013.

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The poll, conducted on behalf of Legacy®* – a national tobacco education foundation – found that on average, those who committed to quit in 2012 stayed quit for just about a month (30 days), and for more than half (59 percent) of those quitters, it was the longest they had ever stayed quit.

"Research has shown that most smokers who quit on January 1 struggle to stay quit as the days and weeks go on," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of Legacy. "Many smokers may have begun their New Year's quit attempt and have already relapsed and that's okay. We need to encourage them to build a quit plan and then try to quit again. On average, research has shown that smokers make up to 6-9 attempts before they finally quit for good, which is why it is so important to remind smokers to quit with support and methods that have proven success."

While it is positive news that more of the surveyed smokers are planning to quit in 2013 than in 2012, data reveals that many of them are still overlooking resources and practices that can lead to successful quitting:

  • More than half (53 percent) of the smokers surveyed have not talked about quitting smoking with their healthcare providers (HCPs) in the last 12 months. Using over-the-counter and prescription medications – both nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) and non-nicotine prescription medications – can improve a smoker's chance of quitting.
  • Of those surveyed, only 39 percent used a non-prescription product like gums, lozenges or patches, during their last quit attempt.
  • Even fewer (13 percent) used a prescription medication to help them quit during this most recent attempt.

"The fact that more than half of smokers are still not speaking with their HCPs about quitting shows that we have a significant missed opportunity on our hands.  Healthcare providers play a critical role in reaching smokers with support and resources for quitting," said Dr. Healton.

Among smokers who did speak with their HCPs about quitting in the last 12 months, nearly four in ten believe that the discussion motivated them to quit (38 percent) or helped them to take the next step towards quitting (35 percent). "Overcoming the initial barrier of speaking with a primary care physician, pharmacist or dentist is critical. Once the conversation does get going, the outcomes can be extremely helpful to bolstering the quit attempts and ensuring the results are long-lasting," Healton said.

Among the 45 percent of smokers surveyed who did speak with their HCP about quitting smoking, many reported that during conversations in the last 12 months, their HCP commonly recommended nicotine replacement products (49 percent) and prescription medications (49 percent) to help them quit. However, most have yet to adopt recommended treatments. Nationally representative studies have shown that people trying to quit smoking improve their likelihood of success if they utilize FDA-approved medications.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those who tried to quit in the past year prepared for only a week ahead of time, at most. Giving up smoking is very difficult; having a plan and a support network including a healthcare provider and tools lined up in advance can help considerably. The poll showed that 69 percent of smokers are thinking about quitting within the next year, with a majority, 79 percent, of this group either in the process of quitting already or planning to do so within the next six months.

Smokers looking to quit should visit www.BecomeAnEX.org. The site offers a free personalized online plan that can help any smoker start on the path to quit by offering proven-effective smoking cessation tools and information. The program was created by Legacy, a national public health foundation, with input from current and former smokers along with tobacco treatment experts at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.

* The survey was sponsored by Legacy and partly funded by Pfizer; Kelton, a leading global insights firm facilitated the survey in November and December 2012.

About the Survey
The survey was conducted between November 26th and December 5th, 2012 among 1,552 Americans 18 and over who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetimes and still smoke at least occasionally, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. 

In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.5 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.  The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About Legacy®:
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.

Follow us on Twitter @legacyforhealth and Facebook www.Facebook.com/Legacy.


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