Learn About Smoking Cessation
The use of tobacco can lead to dependence on tobacco or nicotine, in addition to various health conditions, some of which may be fatal. It can be difficult to quit smoking due to the withdrawal effects of nicotine. However, successfully quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk of developing health conditions that can be caused by smoking and improve your quality of life.
Nicotine is the substance naturally present in tobacco that most smokers become addicted to. In fact, nicotine is the most common drug addiction in the United States, surpassing heroin, cocaine and alcohol.
It can be difficult for smokers to quit smoking because they often experience withdrawal symptoms including:
- Irritability or anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Craving tobacco
- Hunger and weight gain
As a result of these withdrawal symptoms, many people need several attempts to quit before they are able to stop smoking for good.
Benefits of Quitting
Smoking increases the risk of many health conditions such as:
- Lung and other types of cancer
- Heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Infertility and low birth weight baby
People who smoke that are able to quit can reduce their risk for these conditions significantly.
Most smokers in the United States report that they would like to quit smoking completely, although it is difficult for many. However, the number of former smokers now exceeds the number of current smokers, indicating that it is surely possible to overcome the withdrawal symptoms and quit smoking.
If you are trying to quit smoking, seeking medical advice can help you to get the support and treatment you need to quit. Techniques that can help to increase your likelihood of successfully quitting smoking include counseling, behavioral therapy (e.g. problem-solving training) and programs to improve follow through, such as those utilizing mobile phones.
Nicotine replacement products can effectively help in the process to quit smoking. These products, available as a patch, inhaler, gum or spray, allow a controlled amount of nicotine to be released to prevent withdrawal products. This reduces the exposure to other harmful chemicals in cigarettes that have the potential to cause cancer and can gradually be reduced until the dose of nicotine is negligent.
Other medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix) can also help to reduce cravings and help you to quit smoking. This is best for people who have tried to quit smoking several times without success.
Just as important as quitting smoking is continuing to avoid tobacco products and returning to the addiction after you have successfully quit smoking. There are several tips that can help you to stay smoke free, including:
- Avoid people or places that tempt you to smoke in the early stages
- Change habits to opt for foods or activities that you do not associate with smoking
- Stay active to reduce stress and fight the urge to smoke
- Breathe fresh air in deeply as you used to inhale the smoke and picture your lungs with clean air
- Delay the urge to smoke for a short time until it passes
- Reward yourself when you are able to reduce or quit smoking
Want to know more?
If you would like some support to help you to quit smoking, you may benefit from advice from a medical professional.
At Central Arkansas Lung, we will be happy to give you personalized and professional advice on how to quit smoking. Simply call us if you’d like more information or to organize an appointment.