Smokeless options help people kick the habit

1 in 5 adults smoke cigarettes, but according to the Centers for Disease Control, a smaller percentage of people smoke today than 20, 30, even 40 years ago.

Officials say those who do smoke, have a better chance of quitting today than they did in the past because of advancements in quitting technology.

Ty Grissett is with "Smoke Free Horry," a program aimed at helping people in Horry County quit smoking. "We've got science on our side and by having science on our side we've got more medicine available now that wasn't available less than 20 years ago."

Grissett is a health coordinator and a registered nurse and says the new options are critical to quitting. "Research shows that if someone wants to quit smoking, they need to combine the nicotine replacement therapy - the patches, gum and lozenges - with also counseling."

To compete with an increasingly anti-smoking public sentiment, tobacco companies have introduced their own lines of "safer" products. From smokeless packets, called Snus, to tobacco lozenges and even a new moist smokeless tobacco that one company claims has less carcinogens than other smokeless products.

Then there are e-cigarettes. They give you the nicotine without the smoke, just a liquid vapor that's battery powered. Nicks Cigar World in North Myrtle Beach considered selling the e-cigarette but had second thoughts. "They're not cheap. You get the initial machine and then after you buy the cartridges, they last a while and the other aspect is that there's just not enough information out there. They're not safe yet, other countries are banning them," said Jamie Goebel, the cigar shop manager.

Grissett says, whatever reason a smoker is quitting, must be bigger than the addiction itself. "Is it because their kids? They want to stop for them? Is it for health reasons? Whatever compels them to stop smoking, that will be the determining factor if it's going to last long term or not."

Smoke Free Horry offers smokers a way to quit that's specifically designed for the individual smoker and includes free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges.

Another option for smokers is prescription medication.

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