Next week is Quit Week here in North Dakota.
It’s an initiative to help smokers kick the habit of using tobacco products.
According to official reports, there have been numerous tobacco-related deaths reported in the state during COVID-19 and organizers are hoping to reduce those numbers.
“I do not know what the pandemic did to that number. Up until 2020, we have been averaging about 1,000 fatalities as a state,” said Andrew Horn, the coalition program director.
Tobacco Free North Dakota is here to help and during the pandemic, smoke-free activists want people to know this.
“Healthy lungs are going to be your best way to fight out different infections, to fight off things like COVID-19 illness. One of the ways to have healthy lungs is to not use tobacco products,” said Horn.
Experts say there is no safer alternative. Even using e-cigarettes commonly known as vaping, still puts your health at risk.
“It is important to know that switching isn’t quitting. If you switch from cigarettes to vaping products, you are still getting the nicotine. That is really what we are trying to focus on with Quit Week is not just vaping, but to get people to realize that no matter what the product is, nicotine is nicotine,” said Horn.
Tobacco use can lead to lung cancer, COPD and other illnesses that make it difficult to breathe.
That’s why Tobacco Free North Dakota has partnered with resources, hoping to bring change.
“We have a lot of tobacco treatment specialists throughout the state. Different health providers have them; nicotine replacement therapies, the ND Quits line is one of them,” Horn said.
And Horn adds asking for help can only increase your chances for success.
“Having those nicotine replacement therapies, having the counseling, having tobacco treatment specialists, It’s going to double or triple your success rate,” said Horn.
The pledge to become tobacco-free starts June 14.
This is the second year Quit Week has gone on here in the state.