Kick the habit! How to live a smoke-free life
By now, we all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for our health - and most people know that smoking is a leading risk factor for lung cancer.
But, did you know that smoking also contributes to a multitude of other
diseases such as bladder, head and neck cancer? Smoking is also strongly linked to chronic lung conditions, such as COPD and emphysema, and the high amounts of carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke dramatically increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you’re a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your overall health and well-being is quit. It’s not easy, but here are a few tips to help you start living a rewarding smoke-free life.
Where do I start, and how can my healthcare provider help?
- The first step is deciding to quit. During each visit with your provider, you’ll be asked about your smoking status and advised on the options available to help you quit smoking, if you’re ready. It’s important that you want to quit, though, as it makes any intervention more successful.
- So when you're ready to quit smoking, just ask your provider! Your provider is there to support you and will work with you to create a plan to help you quit smoking.
What is available to help me quit?
There are a variety of products and resources out there and the following have been proven to help smokers quit:
- Nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum, reduce cravings.
- Medications, like Wellbutrin and Chantix, can also be taken to decrease cravings.
- Quit lines, particularly 1-800-QuitNow, have been shown to be beneficial and are free.
E-cigarettes are also a potential means of helping you quit, but they are not regulated by the FDA and the safety of the inhalant used has not been verified in any of the products. And, unfortunately, there is no data that shows the benefit of acupuncture or hypnotherapy for smoking cessation.
So, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks of any of these products or treatments. Remember, we’re here to help you kick the habit!