Top tips to quit smoking
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of diseases and premature deaths in the United States. Quitting the use of tobacco for even just one day is a step toward a healthier life that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
So what better resolution is there than quitting smoking for a healthy start to the new year?
Research shows that smokers are most successful in quitting when they have support, such as the use of telephone hotlines, stop-smoking groups, online quit groups, counseling, nicotine replacement products, prescription medicine to lessen cravings, guide books or encouragement and support from family and friends.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), using two or more of the above methods for quitting works better than using one on its own. Some people even use as many as three or four of the methods. No matter which method you choose, the four factors for a successful quit include:
- Making the decision yourself to quit
- Picking a day to quit
- Dealing with the withdrawal symptoms
- Staying tobacco-free
“My approach to smoking cessation is telling patients the truth,” says Dr. Carl-Ray Rhoden, family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Eureka, Ill. “The number one thing they can do for their health is to quit smoking. Next, I assess their desire to quit smoking during their current office visit. If they are ready, they will let me know. If not, I will reassess at them at their next visit until they are ready.”
Personal health is often the No. 1 reason people do quit smoking, according to the ACS. If that’s not reason enough, check out the Smoking Cost Calculator to see just how much a person spends on cigarettes.
“When my patients have decided to quit, I let them know that it is not going to be easy, but I have some simple and helpful advice,” Dr. Rhoden says. “
- You are a smoker even after you quit. It takes approximately 15 years after you quit to be a nonsmoker.
- You are addicted to nicotine, and that is why your habit of smoking is so pleasurable and hard to quit. You will need to replace the nicotine in the form of a patch, gum or lozenge. If the nicotine replacement is not high enough, you will still want to smoke so you need a higher dose of nicotine. If it is too high, you will become jittery and should do a lower dose.
- If you are concerned about how not smoking may affect your mood and that you may gain weight once you quit, I recommend bupropion, a medication used to help people stop smoking.
Stop-smoking telephone hotlines are available in every state. Call the ACS at 800.227.2345 to find telephone counseling or other support options in your area.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.