10 Jan QUIT SMOKING
Smoking is one of the major cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the world. According to CDC, smoking cigarettes causes approximately 480,000 premature deaths in the US each and every year. An additional 16 million people suffer from debilitating diseases caused by smoking cigarettes.
An estimated additional 41,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases as the result of second hand smoke. The chemicals released from second hand smoke pose a very real danger to those in the close proximity of a smoker.
Quitting smoking can be overwhelming. It is not only about breaking a powerful physical dependence on an incredibly addictive substance but also about significantly changing one’s lifestyle, habits and coping strategies. It is, however, undeniably the single most important step that smokers can take to improve the length and quality of their lives.
Most smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts. People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms:
Benefits of quitting smoking:
Ways to quit smoking:
- Cold turkey:
Quitting smoking ‘cold turkey’ means abruptly stopping smoking without using any quitting medications to assist. The cold turkey method is the most commonly used technique. Approximately 90% of all smokers who attempt to quit try to do so without the aid of nicotine replacement therapy or other medication. For some people, this is the most successful way to quit smoking.
When you quit smoking, you will begin to feel the benefits straight away. The healing process begins and noticeable changes occur. However, cold turkey is also the least effective method. According to the American Lung Association, less than 5% of people who choose to quit smoking by going cold turkey will find long-term success. It is a challenging method that requires a lot of willpower, but it is also the fastest method and is therefore recommended for people who need to quit urgently due to serious medical issues.
- Drugs and medication:
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are designed to provide individuals suffering from nicotine addiction a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, thereby easing the quitting process. Nicotine replacement therapies can take the form of gum, patches and inhalers (Nicorette®, Niquitin®, Nicotinell®).
The use of NRT can increase the success rate of quitting by 50% to 70%. After one year, the success rate for NRT is between 6% and 16%, with nicotine patches proving to be marginally more effective than nicotine gum. Non-nicotine smoking cessation medication can even be used along with NRT in order to boost the chances of success. This medication does not contain nicotine and is found to have a slightly higher success rate than NRT. The most popular ones on the market is Champix®.
Tips on quit smoking:
- Find your reason. To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from second-hand smoke or lower your chance of getting lung cancer, heart disease, or other conditions.
- Prepare before you quit. Smoking is an addiction. The brain is hooked on nicotine. Without it, you’ll go through withdrawal. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about all the methods that will help.
- Avoid smoking triggers. These are the people, places, things, and situations that set off your urge to smoke. On your quit day, try to avoid all your triggers.
- Lean on your loved ones. Tell your friends, family, and other people you are close to that you are trying to quit. They can encourage you to keep going.
- Get moving. Being active can curb nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you want to reach for a cigarette, put on your jogging shoes instead.
- Stay positive. Many people try several times before giving up cigarettes for good. Don’t get discouraged. Reward yourself for being smoke-free for 24 hours and set a quit date that makes sense for you.