This time of the year can certainly mean the weather is changing outside. There are songs like, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or maybe “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown that remind us of cold weather. But actually, I’m thinking of the efforts Big Tobacco is going through to keep the “cooling agent” in cigarettes and vapes on the market: MENTHOL.
See, the FDA, in October of this year, sent the White House final regulations to eliminate menthol nicotine products like e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and cigars. But Big Tobacco won’t give these products up without a fight. Menthol cigarettes reap more than a third of all annual cigarette sales from menthols and US sales of “ice” e-cigarettes have been increasing at an alarming rate, with US sales growing by more than 10 times from 2017-2021. What is even more alarming, in 2023, almost 58% of US kids who vape, use ice e-cigarettes.
Big Tobacco put up a major fight as California passed its flavor ban that included menthol. Now, they have multiple front groups like “Alliance for Fair and Equitable Policy” to post advertisements opposing the federal ban on menthol and placing them on popular podcasts and local targeted radio and social. These ads prompt their target audience to call the White House in protest of the FDA proposal.
So now, it’s time for all of us to use our voices. I encourage you to call the White House’s comment line and leave a message for President Biden. Support the FDA’s recommendations on eliminating the sale of menthol products. The phone number is: 202-456-1111.
Smoking cessation is a challenging but essential journey for those looking to improve their health and well-being. While quitting “cold turkey” works for some, others may find success through a more gradual approach known as tapering off cigarettes. In this article, we will explore the evidence behind tapering off cigarettes, various methods individuals can use, and tips to make the process more manageable.
Why consider tapering off slowly:
Reduction in withdrawal symptoms:
Research suggests that tapering off cigarettes can lead to milder withdrawal symptoms compared to quitting abruptly. Gradual reduction helps the body adjust to decreasing nicotine levels, making the process less daunting.
Increased success rates:
Studies have shown that individuals who gradually reduce their cigarette intake may have higher success rates in quitting smoking in the long term. Tapering off allows smokers to adjust both physically and mentally, increasing the likelihood of sustained abstinence.
What are ways to taper off cigarettes:
Set Realistic Goals:
Establish a realistic and achievable reduction plan. For example, aim to smoke one less cigarette per day every week until you reach your goal.
Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):
Consider incorporating nicotine replacement products like patches, gum, or lozenges. These products can help manage withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to reduce cigarette consumption gradually.
Recognize and address situations that trigger the urge to smoke. Whether it’s stress, social situations, or certain activities, finding alternative coping mechanisms is crucial for successful tapering.
Some individuals find success in tapering off by switching to cigarettes with lower nicotine content. This can be a steppingstone toward eventually quitting altogether.
Tips for Successful Tapering:
Consistency is key when tapering off cigarettes. Stick to your reduction plan and monitor your progress regularly.
Celebrate milestones with non-smoking-related rewards. Positive reinforcement can help reinforce your commitment to tapering off.
Inform friends and family about your decision to taper off cigarettes. Having a support system can provide encouragement and understanding during challenging moments.
Participate in physical activities to distract yourself from cravings and boost your overall well-being. Exercise can also help manage stress, a common trigger for smoking.
Consider seeking assistance from healthcare professionals or smoking cessation programs. They can provide personalized advice, support, and even prescribe medications to aid in the tapering-off process.
Tapering off cigarettes is a possible and evidence-backed method for individuals looking to quit smoking. Remember, each step toward reducing cigarette intake is a step toward a healthier, smoke-free future.