It’s a new year. It’s 2019. Time for those New Year’s Resolutions. Most people set health goals. Something they want to do better. Let’s talk about smoking and how to quit smoking in 2019.
We all know that smoking is harmful to health and here is why:
Tobacco contains over 7000 chemicals, about 70 of these chemicals can cause cancer. There are benefits to quitting smoking.
The benefits to quitting smoking include:
- Lower risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Lower risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
- Lower heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
- Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Most smokers can quit smoking on their own.
It does take some discipline. May attempts are required to quit smoking. Some people might say it took 7 attempts to be successful in quitting smoking.
The following treatments are proven to be effective for smokers who want help to quit if they cannot stop on their own:
- Brief help by talking to a doctor about smoking cessation
- Individual, group, or telephone counseling
- Behavioral therapies (such as training in problem-solving, stress reduction)
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and more intensity (such as more or longer counseling sessions)
- Programs to deliver treatments using mobile phones
Medications for quitting that have been found to be effective include the following:
- Nicotine replacement products
- Over-the-counter (nicotine patch [which is also available by prescription], gum, lozenge)
- Prescription (nicotine patch, inhaler, nasal spray)
- Prescription non-nicotine medications: bupropion SR (Zyban®), varenicline tartrate (Chantix®).
Take home point:
In summary, counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone.
Article summarized by Dr. Ngozi Onuoha.
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