Quitting smoking can lower your chances of developing heart disease, lung disease, or cancer. It can also decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis, a condition that makes your bones brittle. Quitting smoking will improve your health no matter how old you are, how long or how much you have smoked.
How do I begin to stop smoking?
Set a quit date.
Tell family and friends that you are going to quit.
Plan ahead for cravings and situations that may tempt you to smoke.
Remove all tobacco products from your environment.
Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.
How can my doctor help me?
Your doctor can counsel you on different ways to quit smoking. In addition, your doctor can give you medications to:
- Reduce your craving for cigarettes
- Reduce the unpleasant symptoms that happen when you stop smoking (called “withdrawal symptoms”)
You can also get help by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go online: www.smokefree.gov
What are the symptoms of withdrawal?
- Restlessness and trouble sleeping
- Frustration and irritability
- Trouble thinking clearly
How do medications help?
- Nicotine replacement therapy helps reduce withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement therapy includes patches, lozenges, and gum. Prescription medications include nasal sprays and “puffers” or inhalers.
- Bupropion is a prescription drug that reduces your desire to smoke. This medicine is sold as Zyban® or Wellbutrin®.
- Varenicline (sold as Chantix®) is a prescription medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cigarette cravings.
How does counseling help?
- Discover what triggers your desire to smoke
- Discover why you were unsuccessful when you tried to quit before
Will I gain weight?
Even though you may gain a few pounds, the advantages of quitting smoking far outweigh the disadvantages of gaining a little weight. You can help prevent some weight gain by exercising more, eating less and taking a medication like bupropion may help control weight gain.
Other measures I can take to improve my chances of quitting?
- Stay away from other smokers, places and situations you have learned to associate with cigarette smoking in the past.
- Ask your friends and family to try quitting smoking with you.
- Keep gum, mints, or something similar handy. When you get an urge for a cigarette have a mint or some gum instead. Better yet, keep healthy snacks like nuts, raw carrots, broccoli or cauliflower to munch on.