Commentary: Love Your Quitter Until They Quit for Good

Recently the beloved actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock on “Star Trek,” tweeted that he had been diagnosed with a lung disease caused by smoking cigarettes.

He tweeted, “I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!!”

The grandfather of five first revealed that he has been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, in late January via social media. COPD, the name for a collection of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and is often characterized by coughing and shortness of breath, typically gets worse over time. Smoking is the main cause of COPD in men and women in the United States and is the third leading cause of death in America. Combined with other chronic lower respiratory diseases, COPD claimed the lives of 134,676 Americans in 2010.

According to Nimoy, “Quitting isn’t easy.” He’s right. Smoking is a powerful addiction that is extremely difficult to overcome. The nicotine in cigarettes changes the chemistry of a smoker’s brain, creating physical dependence. Coupled with the behavioral and social aspects of smoking, it can seem next to impossible for a smoker to quit smoking.

He also has a lot of company. Out of the more than 43 million adult smokers in the United States, approximately 70 percent of them want to quit.

With the release of the Surgeon General’s Report earlier this year, new data shows that tobacco is more deadly than ever before. Tobacco still remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the United States and it impacts millions of families and hurts communities.

Unfortunately, too often, smokers are thought of as people who simply can’t kick their “nasty habit.” That’s dead wrong — smokers are not the enemy. Rather, they are the individuals that we need to help now, more than ever to quit because for most smokers, tobacco is an addiction that they desperately want to overcome.

On average, it takes a smoker 11 quit attempts before most succeed. We know that when smokers have support from their loved ones, they have a better chance of quitting – however many times it takes them to do it for good. Many smokers embarking on quit attempts keep their journey a secret because they’re afraid of embarrassment if they slip up or fail. However, having a solid support system increases the odds of not slipping up – so it’s important that family and friends are as supportive as possible in every step along the quit journey. This strong support and understanding will eventually increase the odds of success in any smoker’s transition to non-smoker status.

According to Nimoy’s Twitter, “Some folks are quitting smoking because of my message.” In order to help raise awareness about how hard it is to beat tobacco addiction, Legacy has created this video to help send support to smokers and we hope that this video can help even more.

If you are a smoker looking to quit, Legacy is a free online quit smoking program, designed by Legacy, to help smokers quit. The website offers smokers a free downloadable plan to quit and provides resources, information, and tools that were designed in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and with input from former and current smokers. The program also aids in social support by being host to an online community of more than 650,000 smokers who are working together to quit.

Help us spread the love by sharing this video using the hashtag #LoveYourQuitter. “Love my life, family, friends and followers. LLAP,” Nimoy wrote in a Tweet. “Live Long and Prosper,” and that’s what we hope to help more people do.

Legacy Dave DobbinsDavid Dobbins
Chief Operating Officer

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    March 31, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    I have quit smoking many times. The first few times went on little more than a month here and there. Finally, I quit once for a year and returned to smoking. Next I quit for 4 years and went back to smoking for about a year. This last time I have not smoked for a little over 3 years.

    So I guess I have smoked about 1 year out of the past 7 or so years. I think that is preferable to just smoking the last 7 years with no 6 year reprieve from it.
    Quit however many times it takes you.

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    Fr. Jack Kearney

    March 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    I would like to commend Legacy for taking a more positive, non-judgmental approach to smokers. I hope others follow their lead.
    Legacy, however, continues to be an obstacle to helping smokers quit by taking money from Big Pharma and ignoring evidence-based practices of tobacco harm reduction. If their real priority was to help people quit smoking they would have a “whatever works” approach, not a political one.

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