The new online format to the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program will help individuals more effectively quit through increased interactivity.
The American Lung Association has given its online smoking cessation program an upgrade with the introduction of Freedom From Smoking Plus.
While the Freedom From Smoking program—launched more than 35 years ago—has included an online component since 2001, the new program should prove more effective with its increased interactivity, chunked text content, online forms, and access to telephone counseling.
“It helps people build their motivation to quit, to construct their actual quit plan, to decide if they want to use the medication, then to actually go through their actual quit day,” ALA National Director of Tobacco Programs Bill Blatt said.
“It’ll be more effective because people will be able to understand and act on the information better than they were with our old program,” he continued.
Freedom From Smoking Plus is an alternative to the self-help manual or in-person clinic available as part of the overall program. It also continues past the individual’s formal quit day to help them avoid relapse.
The nine sessions include reading, activities, videos, quizzes, and a personalized quit plan. In addition to telephone counseling, participants can also chat with other quitters through the online community.
“Every person’s quit plan is unique because every person is unique, so [it] figures out what approach is best for them and then helps them get ready for quit day, quit, and then build the skills they’ll need to stay smoke free,” Blatt said.
With the introduction of surcharges on health insurance premiums for tobacco users, some people have been completing the program as fast as possible simply to get the fee waived. The new format is meant to prevent this type of usage by slowing people down while completing it.
“Increasing the interactivity, and the number of clicks and forms, and things like that—not in a bad way—that’s also designed to slow people down, to get people thinking more deeply about quitting smoking and how they could quit smoking for good,” Blatt explained. “We’re also requiring that you do more; it’s not the kind of program you can blast through without reading anything.”
According to ALA, there are now more former smokers than current ones in the United States, and this program has played a role in that change.
“Quitting smoking is one of the best things anyone can do for their health, and although those first steps can be hard, finding your path to a smoke free life is easier with the right help,” Blatt said in a press release. “The Freedom From Smoking program, whether you choose our new Freedom From Smoking Plus option, in-person clinics, telephone support, or self-help guide, is a proven way to quit smoking—and stay quit—even if you’ve tried before. We know every smoker can quit for good, and these new options support you along the way however you’re most comfortable.”