According to CDC, tobacco use can lead to nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Smoking cessation greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases.
More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. 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, stress, and weight gain. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious
- Having trouble thinking
- Craving tobacco products
- Feeling hungrier than usual
People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and COPD. In women of childbearing age, there is reduced risk of infertility and there is reduced risk of low birth weight baby during pregnancy.
Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone. Medications for quitting that have been found to be effective include the following: nicotine replacement products such as nicotine patch, gum, lozenge prescription, non-nicotine medications including bupropion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).
Are you ready to quit?
Making the commitment is half the battle. It’s not going to be easy. But choosing the best way to quit is a good first step to ensure you stick with it. Remember, it is never too late to quit! While it is best to quit smoking as early as possible, quitting smoking at any age will enhance the length and quality of your life. Each person needs to find the right combination of techniques for them. Support groups, nicotine replacement therapy, and other medications can help you quit.
It takes most people several attempts-sometimes as many as 10 or more-before they finally quit smoking. That is why your doctor can be a key resource and support as you’re trying to quit smoking. At Concord Clinic, we talk to you about medications to help you quit and help with information and support you need to live smoke free.