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EX Program Offers Support For Smoking Cessation In Montgomery County

Cigarette smoking continues to decline as taxes on tobacco rise.
Cigarette smoking continues to decline as taxes on tobacco rise.

Montgomery County’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board is partnering with the national anti-tobacco organization the Truth Initiative on a program designed to help people be more successful when they try to quit smoking.

The EX Program is an online support service for smokers and vapers.

Bruce Barcelo, Program Coordinator with ADAMHS says the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need for smokers to break their addiction now.

“Smoking and vaping can increase the chances of a person being infected, can make COVID infections worse," he says. "That's because it damages the lungs and it really paralyzes the cilia - the little hair-like structures in the lungs. And so that means that infection can take root and can more easily attach to lung cells."

The program is free for participants who can access support services though a website.

Barcelo says the online support can be extremely beneficial for those who haven't been able to quit on their own, adding that many smokers who try to quit will try vaping as a substitute and then continue to use both.

"Listen, if someone is motivated to make an attempt, I'm fine with it, but let's make a plan. And, if it doesn't work within a certain time frame, then be willing to be honest. Take a step back and let's do something else, because more times than not... there are more adverse health effects from dual use than just smoking alone."

The Truth Initiative says 55 percent of smokers try to quit smoking every year, but only 7 percent are successful.

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