Smokers use high-tech tools to stop smoking

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) –The American Lung Association found that six of 10 smokers take multiple attempts to kick the habit for good, so many resolve to quit on New Year's Day. Some even use smartphones to track their progress, but Dr. Andrea Bounds says people should do whatever they can to quit.

"We don't care how you do it. We just want you to stop," Bounds said.

Bounds supports smokers trying to quit in 2012, but kicking the habit is easier said than done.

"Most people who smoke, it seems like, want to quit," she said, "so it's very common for us to hear people come into the office and ask how we can help them to stop smoking."

Bounds says she and other physicians at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro can offer several solutions. Over-the-counter or prescription medications are available, but she has seen the economy act as a big deterrent recently.

"I've had a lot of patients who have been very successful at quitting because they were forced to whenever they could no longer afford it," Bounds said, "so that was a good side effect of an unfortunate situation."

Numerous stop-smoking applications are now available for devices, like the iPhone and Android. People can track how much they save and find out what health benefits they've gained since their last cigarette.

"If that's a way that can keep people on track and get on gear, then I'm all for it," Bounds added.

The National Cancer Institute is hoping these handheld reminders prevent teenagers from lighting up. A new quitting program includes a website, texting support and a smartphone app, as a recent survey found that 19 percent of teens smoke by their senior year in high school.

"Thinking of your children, your grandchildren, those who are looking up to you – they're a lot less likely to smoke in the first place if they don't see their role models lighting up a cigarette," Bounds said.

The American Lung Association estimates about 400,000 people die from tobacco-caused diseases, making it the leading cause of preventable death. Thousands of others also die from exposure to secondhand smoke, but Bounds says the tragic cycle can stop.

"It's hard to quit, but there are a lot of great resources to quit," she said. "If you're willing to seek them out and willing to stay on track, you can be successful. There are plenty of success stories out there."

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