We are in an era where less and less people are starting to use tobacco; there is greater awareness of health effects, online support (BecomeAnEX), and technology to have greater reach of individuals to services — but, we seem to have a disconnect in that we are not reaching youth/young adults to help them stop smoking.
As I have learned from many of you, you appreciate the support, guidance, and experiences that are shared within the EX community. Making a major life change is HARD; whether it is quitting smoking, chewing, or plain exercise and healthy eating! What I have seen on this site is others normalizing experiences, encouraging one another, and responding with empathy; all of which have helped individuals feel comfortable, welcomed, heard, not alone, and motivated! All of which are great and I believe so many people can benefit from these same feelings and connectedness.
With that thought in mind; I am wondering what efforts you as EX community members and advocates have done to support others within your local communities?
Here in Rochester, Minnesota there have been efforts to provide supportive counseling and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) through the local Salvation Army for individuals who do not have health insurance. Minnesota also has great Medical Assistance programs that cover tobacco cessation services.
Changing tobacco culture can take a village: we know that with increase taxes, increase age of purchase, and smoke-free policies can all help to reduce the number of individuals who start.
What contributions have you made locally in your community? Or are there any opportunities to get involved in your community on the continuous battle against Big Tobacco?
To find out what is happening in your state visit the State of Tobacco Control 2018 | American Lung Association
Virginia Fitch-Braun, MS