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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Four Ways Triangle Residents Can Quit Smoking

The tobacco epidemic is a nationwide concern. However, out of all the states, North Carolina remains the top manufacturer of tobacco. It's not surprising that the number of smokers in the state is sitting at 16.5% or 1,352,000 residents, 2.5% more than the national rate of 14%.

Alarmingly, the annual number of adults in NC who die from smoking is 14,200. We must take proactive measures to encourage residents to quit smoking and avoid further damage and costs to our community.

Thankfully, there are many measures that Triangle residents can take to quit smoking today. Here are four of them to get started.


Join community initiatives

Many institutions have been launching tobacco education campaigns to promote public health. An example is the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), which is responsible for providing assistance to grantees of the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund. This tailors interventions to specific communities that experience tobacco-specific health disparities.

Otherwise, the CDC can also connect smokers with resources to help them quit, including a Quitline number. The NC Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) provides free cessation services, including counseling, medication, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). These services effectively improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and are also widely accessible for all residents.


Try non-smoking NRT options

NRT is a tried-and-tested means of cessation that gently weans the user off nicotine. It helps that NC upholds several clean indoor air ordinances that ban smoking tobacco or even e-cigarettes in public places such as schools, restaurants, and bars. Hence, smokeless nicotine alternatives have steadily been growing in usage.

A popular choice is the spit- and stain-free nicotine pouches, which can be discreetly used and easily ordered online. The On! nicotine pouches available on Prilla boast a wide range of flavors to entice both younger and older adults to make the switch. Along with brands like ZYN and FRĒ, On! also offers unflavored options, making them safe for usage amidst news of flavor bans in the state.

For those new to NRT, starting with the dosage closest to the number of cigarettes you smoke daily is best. This will allow you to decrease your reliance on nicotine as time passes.


Exhaust medication

If the discipline to wean yourself off nicotine is too challenging, it may be best to look at medication options. The Raleigh testing site has been vital as Wake Research works on fine-tuning Cytisinicline, a medication that targets nicotine receptors in the brain and blocks the “buzz.” This makes it so that your craving for nicotine is satiated, without the need for consuming any nicotine at all.

While roll-out is a while away, this could eventually help mitigate withdrawal symptoms and ease the cessation process. However, the consumption of any medication must be strictly consulted with your healthcare provider, and the product itself will only be acquirable with a prescription.


Supporting local farms

For decades, many families in NC have made a living off farming tobacco. However, from 2012 to 2017, almost 300 fewer farms in the state harvested tobacco thanks to government assistance like the federal tobacco quota program. Here, tobacco farms were able to transition into the free market system and instead focus on growing produce like strawberries, as well as agritourism.

Supply and demand are intertwined in a bidirectional relationship; when we support these local businesses, we provide the demand. This allows our neighbors to continue supplying healthy produce while cutting off the supply of tobacco. With more restrictions on tobacco supply, it could eventually be easier to do away with smoking altogether.

Quitting smoking is good for the individual and good for the community. With a collective effort, we can secure a healthier future for our community.