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Quitting Smoking and Tobacco Use

Does this seem like a goal that is almost impossible to achieve? According to the American Lung Association, nearly 45 million Americans have quit for good. Though it often takes tobacco users several tries before they are finally able to break the habit, quitting is something that you can do with the proper tools and support.

Why should I quit?

An estimated 400,000 Americans die each year from diseases directly related to smoking or other tobacco use. New long-term studies indicate that about half of all regular tobacco users die of nicotine-related diseases. Nicotine addiction is responsible for one in five U.S. deaths and costs the economy at least $100 billion in health-care costs and lost productivity. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that tobacco use is the major preventable cause of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema and many other health problems.

You can quit smoking

  • Nicotine is a powerful addiction.
  • Quitting is hard, but don’t give up.
  • Many people try two or three times before they quit for good.
  • Each time you try to quit, the more likely you will be to succeed.

Good reasons for quitting:

  • You will live longer and live healthier.
  • The people you live with, especially your children, will be healthier
  • You will have more energy and breathe easier.
  • You will lower your risk of a heart attack, stroke or cancer.

Tips to help you quit:

  • Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car or workplace.
  • Ask your family, friends and coworkers for support.
  • Stay in nonsmoking areas.
  • Breathe in deeply when you feel the urge to smoke.
  • Be prepared with substitutes for trigger situations — stock up on gum, mints or hard candies.
  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Reward yourself often.

Quit and save yourself money:

  • At $6.80 per pack, if you smoke one pack per day, you will save $2,482 each year and $24,820 in 10 years. What else could you do with this money?

Keys to quitting

By considering these five points, you will be able to create a strategy for quitting:

  1. Get ready: Set a date to quit and stick to it. It may be helpful to cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day for a week or two before your quit date.
  2. Line up a support system: Tell your family, friends and coworkers you are quitting. Discuss your decision with your doctor or other health-care provider. Get group, individual or telephone counseling.
  3. Learn new behaviors: When you first quit, try changing your daily routine. Doing things differently may distract you from urges to smoke or chew. Plan something enjoyable to do each day to reward yourself and reduce your stress level.
  4. Get medication: Talk with your health-care provider about which medication would work best for you. Prescription drugs, nicotine inhalers and nicotine nasal spray as well as over-the-counter nicotine patches and gum can help you quit.
  5. Be prepared for relapse: Many people have to “practice” quitting a few times before they break the habit for good.

Helpful medications

There are several medications that can ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and help you quit using tobacco. Ask your physician for advice about which medication is right for you.

Nicotine patch

The patch releases a steady amount of nicotine into the body over time. The patch should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing and may not be appropriate if you have a heart condition.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum contains enough nicotine to reduce the urge to smoke. Gum users may gradually wean themselves off the gum over the course of three months. Nicotine gum should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing and may not be appropriate if you have a heart condition.

Nicotine inhaler

The nicotine inhaler consists of a plastic cylinder containing a cartridge that delivers nicotine when you puff on it. Although similar in appearance to a cigarette, the inhaler delivers nicotine into the mouth, not the lung, and the nicotine enters the body much more slowly than the nicotine in cigarettes. The nicotine inhaler is available only by prescription.

Nicotine nasal spray

Nicotine nasal spray delivers nicotine to the nasal membranes. Nicotine from sprays reaches the bloodstream faster than any other NRT products. It is available by prescription

Bupropion (Zyban)

This non-nicotine pill was approved in 1997 to help smokers quit. The drug, available by prescription only, is also sold as an antidepressant under the name Wellbutrin.

Additional supportive resources

A variety of tools, from information, to one-on-one counseling, to support groups are available to assist you in your decision to stop using tobacco products. Try contacting one of the following organizations for additional information, suggestions and support:

 

PA Department of Health Quitline

Tobacco Free Allegheny

American Cancer Society

American Heart Association

1-800-AHA-USA1 1-800-242-8721www.heart.org

American Lung Association

1-800-LUNG-USA 1-800-586-4872 • www.lung.org

American Respiratory Alliance

National Cancer Institute

1-800-4-CANCER 1-800-422-6237www.cancer.gov

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Nicotine Anonymous

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