Smoking is a difficult habit to kick. You keep promising yourself and your family that you’ll quit, but the day never seems to come. More than 28,000 Texans die every year due to diseases related to smoking. We think 2018 should be the year you decide to kick the habit. Did you know primary care physicians can help you quit? Learn effective ways to quit smoking and ring in the New Year as a healthier you.
Side Effects of Smoking
We’ve all heard smoking is a killer habit. You probably know some of the unpleasant details, but do you all of the potential side effects? Most people are aware of the fact that smoking causes lung cancer, but it can also cause cancer in almost any other part of the body, too. Other conditions caused by smoking include chronic bronchitis, stroke, heart disease, and emphysema. Besides those disorders, it causes loss of sense of smell, wrinkles, and an increased risk of infection.
As if those weren’t enough, there’s also the non-health related side effects like having an unpleasant odor on your hands, clothing and breath, not to mention the high cost to keep up the habit of smoking cigarettes. You even endanger people around you with second-hand smoke. With all of these negative consequences, why not choose today to quit?
Positive Outcomes of Quitting
The negative aspects of smoking are talked about often, but not much is said about the positive things that will happen to your body if you stop. Within as little as twenty minutes from the time you quit, your body starts to mend the damage.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, within twenty minutes, pulse and blood pressure will lower and your feet and hands will get warmer. Other benefits which will happen the longer you abstain from smoking include an increase in blood oxygen levels and a reduction in heart attack risk.
These are just a few improvements that will happen when you quit smoking. As you work through the cravings, just remember your body is getting healthier every second you are not smoking. Be proud you made the right decision for your body and your family.
How to Quit Smoking
Wondering what the best way to quit is? No one way works for everyone, but there are strategies which tend to work for a large number of people. Plans include medication, behavior therapy, nicotine replacement, combination treatments, and the “cold turkey” method. Once you know how the strategies work, you can decide which one might be best for you.
Your doctor can prescribe medications that will help you as you discontinue smoking cigarettes. According to the American Cancer Society, the two medicines generally prescribed are Chantix and Zyban, though others can be helpful, too. They help with withdrawal and craving symptoms.
In this treatment, you work with a counselor to find ways to avoid smoking. First, you’ll work to find your triggers. Once you know the things that can cause you to crave a cigarette, like stress or an irritable mood, then you can work out a plan to get through your triggers without smoking.
You may have heard of “the patch.” This is just one of the available forms of nicotine replacement. There are also inhalers, gum, lozenges, and sprays. These products contain different doses of nicotine which allow you to slowly wean off smoking. Treatments like this are often coupled with behavior therapy to be even more effective.
Combination treatment blends two methods to make it more likely for you to quit. Nicotine therapy and behavior therapy, and nicotine therapy and medication are two common combination therapies.
We’ve all heard the saying before, “quitting cold turkey is when you pick a date and just stop.” It’s done with no outside assistance, medication, or nicotine replacement. While you might think you’re strong enough to quit entirely on your own, research says otherwise. Only about four to seven percent of people can quit without some outside means.
There are alternative techniques that can be used alone or with others to be successful. Practicing relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation, can assist you in quelling those cravings. Exercise is another superb way to push away the desire to smoke. Last, support, either online, in person, or from a friend or family member, can help you when you’re stressed, having a hard time, or just need someone to listen.
You might be wondering, what is the best way to stop smoking? While no one program is best, some types will be more appropriate. What’s important is that you find one that works for you. With the CDC finding 19.2% of Texans ages 18 and older identifying as smokers in 2011, as well as 17.4% of children in grades nine through twelve, we still have a lot of work to do to make our state healthier.
If you’d like to discuss smoking cessation with a doctor at our Baylor Scott & White MedProvider family medicine clinic, call 469-701-9075 to schedule an appointment!