For Smokers Trying to Quit, New Website Is a Boon

A bilingual site launched by allied anti-tobacco organizations offers free tools for wannabe quitters.

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"Re-learn life without cigarettes." That's the motto of a new bilingual website that aims to help smokers kick the habit for good. At BecomeAnEX.org, smokers can create free, personalized quit plans while tracking the "triggers" that lead them to light up (i.e., stress, alcohol, parties, or a "jerk-face" boss). And when those cravings start to mount, a live virtual support group will be there to help.

The site is part of a national public health campaign called "EX" launched Monday in Washington, D.C., by a coalition of prominent organizations to reinvigorate the fight against tobacco addiction. Their aim: to shrink the smoking population—currently about 21 percent of American adults, more than two thirds of whom want to quit—to 12 percent by 2010. Led by the American Legacy Foundation, more than a dozen states and various public health organizations have banded together under the banner of the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation.

If not curbed, smoking could kill more than a billion people this century, according to the World Health Organization. That's the same number of people who would die if a Titanic sank every 24 minutes for the next 100 years, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said at the press conference.

Expect to see advertisements for the campaign in coming weeks. Unlike the dry antismoking adds of old, these take a humorous but sympathetic look at the struggles people face adjusting their daily routines to life without cigarettes.