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Kicking the Habit: Tips to Quit Smoking: By Sarah Clawson, CNP
March 17, 2015

Cigarette smoking increases the risk for serious health problems, diseases and death. Tobacco smoke contains a poisonous mix of more than 7,000 chemicals.  Many of them are toxic and about 70 of them are known to cause cancer. 


Studies have shown that there are many benefits to quitting smoking.  The earlier you quit, the greater the benefits. A few of these benefits include:


·         Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate will drop to a normal level.

·         Within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. 

·         Two weeks to three months after quitting, your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve. 

·         One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath improve.

·         One year after quitting, the risk of dying from coronary heart disease is reduced by about one-half and continues to decline over time. 

·         Within five to fifteen years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s and your risk of getting mouth, throat or esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker’s. 

·         Ten years after quitting, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker’s and your risk of getting cancer of the cervix, bladder, larynx, kidney and pancreas decreases. 

·         Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.

 

Quitting and staying away from cigarettes is difficult, but not impossible.  There are many things you can do to help quit smoking.  Making lifestyle changes such as starting an exercise program and minimizing time with other smokers can be helpful.  It is important to keep in mind that cravings can lead to relapse.  Prevent cravings by avoiding situations associated with smoking.  Avoid thoughts like, “having one cigarette won’t hurt”; one cigarette usually leads to many more.  Having good support from family and friends can be valuable.  Attending group counseling or using a telephone hotline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and talking to your healthcare provider can provide additional support.  Some people find hypnosis and acupuncture to be helpful.

 

There are many medications available both by prescription and over the counter to help you stop smoking.

 

·         Nicotine replacement therapy:  Several forms are available including gum, lozenge, patch, nasal spray or inhaler.  Nicotine replacement therapy is designed to reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.  Using nicotine replacement along with smoking is not recommended.

·         Chantix:  A prescription medication that works in the brain to help reduce nicotine withdrawal and cravings. 

·         Zyban and Wellbutrin:  An antidepressant that can help you to stop smoking.

·         Electronic cigarettes (E-cigs):  A device that puts nicotine in a vapor that you can breathe in.  The vapor has fewer toxins than cigarette smoke but that does not mean that e-cigs are toxin free.  E-cigs are not well regulated and have not been studied enough to know whether they are safe and effective.

 

Talking to your healthcare provider is an excellent first step to quit smoking.  If you are interested in quitting smoking and have questions, the healthcare providers at Madison Health Primary Care are accepting new patients.  We are here to help and support you.  Please call our office at (740) 845-7500 to schedule an appointment.

 

Sarah Clawson is a certified nurse practitioner at Madison Health Primary Care in London. 

 

 

References

 

Quitting Smoking. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/contents/quitting-smoking-beyond-the-basics?source

 

Benefits of Quitting. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/how-to-quit/why-quit/benefits-of-quitting 

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