If you stop smoking, you will feel healthier immediately and be healthier for the rest of your life.
Stopping smoking is not simple – but about half of the people that do not stop will die of smoking related causes. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer in the United States. Not only does it cause lung cancer, but also increases the risk of a number of other cancers including: throat and mouth cancer, stomach and esophageal cancers, cervical cancer, kidney and bladder cancers. Other health problems include: cardiac disease, stroke, and emphysema. Immediately after quitting, the risk of developing cancer begins to drop more and more each year, and your cardiac and lung function begin to improve.
When deciding to quit smoking, it is important to realize that it is not easy and you may need a few attempts before successful. Common side effects of stopping tobacco use include irritability and weight gain. Some people will just decide to quit and go “cold turkey”, however there are many methods to help you stop smoking. Discussing your decision with your health care provider is important as they can offer guidance along the away. You may decide to work with a therapist to stop smoking. The therapist can provide you with behavioral therapy in which your triggers for smoking are identified and methods to deal with cravings are instituted.
Other methods to help you quit include drug treatment such as nicotine replacement products. These products contain nicotine in the form of gum, patches, and lozenges and allow you to slowly taper off of nicotine. They are not for everyone however and their use should be reviewed with your physician. They can cause problems especially in individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure, insulin dependent diabetes, ulcers, esophagitis, heart rhythm problems and asthma. Teenagers and women who are pregnant or who are breast feeding should avoid these products.
Non-nicotine containing medicines include Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline). These medicines lessen cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, but may cause serious psychiatric problems including suicidal thoughts and attempts. They should only be used under the careful guidance of you physician after a thorough review of the risks, benefits and alternatives. Zyban is not right for pregnant women, people with seizures, people with eating disorders and heavy drinkers. Chantix is not right for individuals with kidney disease.
Alternative approaches to smoking cessation include hypno therapy, acupuncture and guided imagery. A combination of the above methods may be right for you. It is important to realize that it may be very tough to quit, but the benefits are huge. It is important to know your triggers for smoking and avoid them if possible. It also important to know, that each time you have a craving to smoke and don’t give into it, you chances of stopping go up.
Resources to help you stop smoking www.smokefree.gov