Expert: Quitting Smoking for New Year’s a Physical, Mental Challenge

Lee Cohen, a smoking cessation expert and clinical psychologist, can explain what smokers should think about before quitting as well as what makes a successful quitting attempt.

Pitch
At any one time, two thirds of all smokers are considering quitting. A quarter will make a serious attempt each year – many as a New Year’s resolution. But only 7 percent will be successful in the first try.  Lee Cohen, a smoking cessation expert and clinical psychologist, can explain what smokers should think about before quitting as well as what makes a successful quitting attempt.

Expert

Lee Cohen, chairman of the Department of Psychology, (806) 742-3711 ext. 224, lee.cohen@ttu.edu.

Talking Points

  • Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S.
  • Usually, people require a significant reason to make a change to quit smoking, such as a health reason or becoming a parent or grandparent.
  • The exact personality factors that lead to quitting success are not well understood.
  • Smokers often don’t succeed in quitting on the first several tries. The average number of quit attempts is seven before someone is successful.
  • Medications can help, but quitters should look at both psychological as well as physical issues.

Quotes

  • “Quitting any addictive drug is complicated. With smoking, it’s even more so because it’s a legal drug. It’s associated with so many things. Smokers often wonder, ‘What am I going to do with all this time? How am I going to drink my coffee without a cigarette? How am I going to eat my meal without a cigarette? It’s part of everything they do, which complicates quitting.”
  • “It’s very normal for smokers not to succeed quitting on the first several tries. Whether you’re ultimately successful, you’ve learned something for the next time you make that quit attempt. It’s important to look at what it was about previous attempts that led you to fail”
  • “It’s standard now to offer smokers medication. But medication won’t be enough. It’s not as simple as just slipping a patch on. People should get into some sort of group with people they can talk to. It’s very interesting how someone who tries and fails numerous times can be very successful when they’re talking to people who understand.”