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Briefings | ActionToQuit – Advancing Tobacco Control Policy

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(Access to Coverage of Tobacco Treatment In Our Nation)

Partnership for Prevention

Shaping Policies | Improving Health


Spotlight on EX

(Full monthly briefing)

February 23, 2010

Have you seen the television ad showing a woman in an office mixing a fancy cocktail, ignoring her work, and walking outside to stand next to a dumpster to drink her cocktail and smoke a cigarette?  The ad is for the EX campaign.

EX is a national public health campaign led by American Legacy Foundation and a collaboration of the nation’s leading public health organizations and 9 states. A free internet resource using evidence-based information, the campaign guides smokers to useful resources that foster successful quit attempts.  The focus of EX is on “re-learning life without cigarettes,” targeting the activities that prompt smokers to light up at the same times every day.

The campaign was developed using research on smokers’ needs.  The research found that smokers wanted a cessation resource that showed an understanding of their struggles to quit and would connect them with other smokers. The American Legacy Foundation, which developed the campaign along with tobacco treatment experts at the Mayo Clinic, started from the reality that although each year about 70 percent of smokers indicate a desire to quit, only about five percent actually stop.  Research indicates that most smokers who want to quit do not understand what it takes to treat their nicotine addiction, or underestimate how powerful that addiction can be. Therefore, EX seeks to reduce the physical and mental barriers to quitting by increasing knowledge and changing attitudes and beliefs about treatment and counseling that lead to successful quit attempts.

The campaign encourages smokers to “re-learn their lives without cigarettes.”  Using the program tools, participants:

• “Re-learn” their thinking on the behavioral aspects of smoking and how different smoking triggers can be overcome with practice and preparation;

• “Re-learn” their knowledge of addiction and how medications can increase their chances for quitting success; and

• “Re-learn” their ideas of how support from friends and co-workers can play a critical role in quitting.

EX offers a step-by-step guide on how to quit successfully using proven methods.  EX encourages smokers to reach out for help from existing cessation resources.  The program includes a variety of tools intended to help smokers build personalized quit plans that help them identify, avoid and overcome “triggers” – the times of day, situations and stresses that cause smokers to want a cigarette. EX provides smokers with the following resources:

• Access to state quitlines using 1-800-QUIT-NOW, the national, toll-free quit-smoking help line;

• BecomeAnEx.org, the campaign Web site that helps smokers select a quit-smoking date, create personalized quit plans and find online support from other smokers who are working to become EX-smokers; and

• The EX Quit Manual, a guide written by a former smoker and featuring a step-by-step approach to combining the tools that make it possible for a smoker to quit.

The basic elements of the smoker’s quit plan will include—

Counseling or coaching: from a doctor, 1-800-QUIT-NOW or online at BecomeAnEx.org.

Medications: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as the nicotine patch, gum, lozenges or approved non-nicotine prescription drugs to ease nicotine withdrawal and help smokers deal with their cravings.

Social support: Family members, friends and co-workers can offer support that makes a difference when smokers are trying to quit. Avoiding secondhand smoke and other societal smoking triggers or socializing in smoke-free places are a few examples of social support that can make a difference in a smoker’s quit attempt.

The campaign includes television, radio, online, out-of-home advertising and a state-of-the-art, interactive Web site (http://www.becomeanex.org) with tips and tools for quitting including personalized quit plans, and a virtual community where smokers can share stories and strategies about their experiences quitting.

In February the campaign began featuring Carl Edwards, championship-winning NASCAR driver, encouraging his fans to live healthier lives by partnering with EX.  Research has found that NASCAR fans smoke at rates 33 percent higher than other adults.  EX will provide help to this demographic by featuring a series of videos providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Edwards and highlighting the importance of preparation and support in his life. The site also features Edwards in free e-cards and lets visitors join an online group of Edwards fans who are also trying to quit smoking with EX.

The campaign is also featured in a reality show about fishing on ESPN2 in which the two main individuals are in the process of quitting.


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  3. Jul 29, 2014
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