Tobacco addiction is complex. It works its way into almost every aspect of a person’s life. Overcoming it takes a comprehensive plan that addresses the physical, behavioral and social aspects of smoking.
Legacy's EX® program was designed to help people “re-learn life without cigarettes.” It helps smokers do everything they used to do with a cigarette without one. The BecomeAnEX.org website offers smokers a free plan to quit and provides valuable information such as:
- The importance of identifying smoking triggers and learning ways to handle them without cigarettes before trying to quit;
- The addictive nature of nicotine and how it actually changes the brain so that it’s much more difficult to quit without the aid of nicotine replacement or other medication;
- The importance of support from friends and family, whether they are helping during a rocky period or even just giving some space.
The site also features a thriving online community, where smokers who are trying to quit can connect with others to share support and encouragement.
EX is also available on mobile platforms, including an iPhone app to help smokers to beat cravings throughout the day. A bilingual Spanish/English fotonovela (featuring comic book-style dialogues) and an “easy-read” EX quit manual reach ethnically diverse and low-literacy populations; they are available in a hard-copy format or as a free download from the website. A Spanish-language version of BecomeAnEX.org was also created and offers the same plan and online community at ConvierteteEnUnEX.org.
EX is designed to be complementary to other cessation efforts at the national, state and local level. It helps build self-efficacy among smokers trying to quit by acknowledging the difficulty in quitting and providing resources and encouragement. Similar to our truth® campaign, this life-saving public health information is presented in the form of a brand to help heighten awareness and receptivity to the campaign’s messages.
Prior to the campaign’s launch in March 2008, Legacy mobilized support from a number of organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as 17 states and the District of Columbia, under an umbrella organization called the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation (NATC). These groups all provided contributions to help fund the national campaign, and many disseminated messages locally.
Results in peer-reviewed publications demonstrate that exposure to EX TV ads is associated with an increase in key cessation-related attitudes and beliefs, as well as a 24% increase in quit attempts, and the campaign has succeeded in reaching minority and vulnerable populations. Research also shows that the more times people come to BecomeAnEX.org, the more likely they are to quit smoking.