Get Help Quitting Smoking for World No Tobacco Day on May 31!


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On May 31, you can join thousands of people who will begin their smoke-free journey on World No Tobacco Day!

This annual event from the World Health Organization to “draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.”

Need help quitting smoking?

Enroll in Quitxt, a free English or Spanish text-message service that turns your phone into a personal “quit smoking” coach from UT Health San Antonio.

To join Quitxt, text “iquit” (for English) or “lodejo” (for Spanish) to 844-332-2058.

“On World No Tobacco Day, we’re excited to share Quitxt to provide real-time help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and much more, all on your phone,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! program at UT Health San Antonio, and also Quitxt, sponsored by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. “Quitting now can reduce your risk of chronic diseases and cancer.”

The Data: How Many People Are Smoking?

U.S. Cigarette smoking rates have declined from 42% in 1965 to 13.7% in 2019.

But over 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, according to the American Cancer Society. In South Texas, cigarette smoking rates are high among Mexican Americans, ranging up to 25.7%.

Certain groups suffer disproportionately from smoking-related diseases.

“These populations tend to be those who experience inequities in multiple areas of their lives, including those at lower socioeconomic levels, those without college degrees, American Indians/Alaska natives, African American/Black communities [and Latinos],” the American Cancer Society reports.


The Science: Smoking Is Unhealthy for You and Those around You

Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world.

Cigarette smoking causes an estimated U.S. 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer death, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths. Also, more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

quit smoking cigarettes for the great american smokeoutAnd that’s before we get to secondhand smoke, which contains over 7,000 chemicals.

“Since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report, 2.5 million adults who were nonsmokers died because they breathed secondhand smoke,” according to the CDC.

Secondhand smoke exposure is linked to several types of cancers, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and more.

The CDC indicates there is “no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

That is why Salud America! created the “Help Your City Adopt Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing” action pack.

The action pack, part of the Mil Gracias campaign, will help you engage local leaders in exploring a smoke-free multifamily housing policy for common areas and individual units.

“Experts say a smoke-free multifamily housing policy can protect the health of tenants and staff of apartments from secondhand smoke, as well as save property owners money in unit maintenance, fire prevention, insurance, and reduced legal liability,” Ramirez of Salud America! said.


Most Smokers Want to Quit Smoking, But it Isn’t Easy or the Same for Everyone

Nearly 70% of current U.S. adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to CDC data.

More than half of adult smokers made a quit attempt in the past year. Among youth who use tobacco, more than half report seriously thinking about quitting and report making a quit attempt in the past year.

For Latinos, Once they’ve started, they are more likely to keep smoking and only half as likely as whites to successfully quit smoking, according to recent study.

“Though Hispanic/Latino smokers have high motivation to quit, with concern for health effects on children and the family as a primary motivator, they mostly rely on themselves for cessation,” according to researchers. “[They have] little use of cessation medication and support services.”

This is why support is so critical to quitting.

“Giving up smoking is a journey, and it can be hard, but you can increase your chances of success with a good plan and support,” according to the American Cancer Society. “Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.”

“Quitting smoking is a process, and success may look different for different people.”


What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking

The benefits of quitting smoking start right away.

quitxt for youtube great american smokeout quit smokingIn minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. In hours, you carbon monoxide levels return to normal. Also, in weeks, you circulation improves, and coughing and shortness of breath decreases.

In a year, your heart disease risk falls by half.

A 2020 study even found a 90% drop in the risk of premature mortality for those who gave up smoking before turning 40 years old.

“Quitting smoking can save lives now, and in the years to come,” according to the American Heart Association. “Simply put, health policies should aim to prevent young people from smoking and should clearly communicate the benefits of quitting to those who do smoke, ideally as young as possible, and before the onset of serious illness.”

You can increase your chances of success in quitting smoking with a good plan and support.

“Counseling and medications can double or even triple your chances of quitting for good,” according to the CDC. “There are many tools available to help you on your quit-smoking journey. Make quit-smoking support services a part of your plan.”


Get Help to Quit Smoking with Quitxt

Those who need help to quit smoking can simply turn on their phone.

Quitxt is a bilingual service from UT Health San Antonio and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas that sends texts messages to smartphones to help South Texas adults quit smoking. Messages help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and using nicotine replacement, if needed.

To join Quitxt in English, text “iquit” to 844-332-2058.

For Spanish, text “lodejo” to 844-332-2058.


Does Quitxt Really Work?

More than 1 in 5 Quitxt users fully quit smoking after completing the English version, according to 2017 data in the journal Health Promotion Practice.

quitxt quit smoking service new grant evluation text textingThis quit rate is similar or better than other texting programs.

The study also confirms that text and mobile-media service specifically designed for young adults provide a feasible and cost-effective approach to promote cessation, according to the researchers led by Dr. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio.

“There’s no better time than now to stop smoking with help from Quitxt,” Ramirez said. “Quitting smoking is proven to improve your health, increase your life span, and save money.”


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Mexican American-nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke

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