Orlando Health: How To Quit Smoking and Why You Should

Orlando Health: How To Quit Smoking and Why You Should

Cristopher Ciccarelli, MDChristopher Ciccarelli, MD
Family Medicine
Orlando Health

Smoking rates in the U.S. have fallen substantially during the past few decades. In 2020, smokers represented 13 out of every 100 U.S. adults. Just 15 years earlier, the number was nearly 21.

Any decline in smoking rates is a good thing. But even with these successes, cigarette smoking is still a major health problem and leading factor in preventable diseases and deaths – nearly 500,000 each year.

If you’re a smoker, a variety of factors likely first prompted you start, including having parents who smoked, media exposure, peer pressure and stress relief. For some people, the very idea of a life without cigarettes seems an impossibility.

Smoking and Your Health

Most people know that smoking is a key contributor to lung cancer. But its impact is far more reaching, causing more deaths each year than alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, AIDS, murders and suicides combined.

Smoking is a risk factor for a wide range of health problems, causing damage to almost every organ in the body. As a result, smokers tend to live 10 years less than nonsmokers.

Among the disorders and health issues linked to smoking:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Age-related macular degeneration (and other eye diseases)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (and other immune system problems)
  • Gum disease
  • Cataracts
  • Reduced sperm count

How To Stop Smoking

Surveys show that more than two-thirds of all adult smokers want to stop. And more than half of them have at least tried to quit in the past year. But as anyone who has ever tried to give up smoking understands, this is no small challenge.

Among the biggest obstacles is the nicotine contained in cigarettes. Nicotine is a drug that occurs naturally in tobacco and is thought to be as addictive as cocaine. It stimulates a part of the brain’s circuitry known as the dopamine reward pathway. Smoking creates pleasant feelings that can distract from unpleasant thoughts and feelings. And when those dopamine levels fall, the smoker can experience withdrawal symptoms including depression, anxiety, insomnia, anger and restlessness.

If you want to stop smoking, consider these suggestions:

Pick a quit date: One of the keys to stopping is selecting a definite date. Circle a day on your calendar that’s sooner rather than later. It should be a day where you aren’t expecting a lot of stress. And don’t pick a day when you’ll be out with friends in a social setting where you’ll be tempted to smoke.

Tell friends and family about your plan: It’s easier to quit if you have the support of your loved ones.

Purge smoking reminders: Get rid of anything that might remind you of smoking. This includes matches, lighters, ash trays and, of course, cigarettes. Resist the temptation to save one pack for an emergency. It also helps to remove the smoke smell from your home and car.

Know why you are quitting: You may want to be healthier, save money or keep your loved ones safe from second-hand smoke. Make a list of your reasons so that you can look at it daily.

Identify your triggers: Make a list of all the things that make you want to smoke. This can help you develop strategies for avoiding them.

Develop coping strategies: Fighting the nicotine withdrawal can be difficult. Behavioral changes and some medications can help.

Set up a rewards system: You’ll save a lot of money if you stop smoking. Plan for what you will do with that money and reward yourself as you reach various milestones.

Identify help before you need it: There are many resources available for people trying to stop smoking, including support groups (both in person and online), smartphone apps and telephone support lines, such as 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Make sure you find support before you reach a critical point.

Try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).  NRT delivers nicotine in patches, gum, lozenges and inhalers to help ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Talk to your doctor: There are two prescription medications — bupropion and varenicline – that are approved by the FDA and can help you quit smoking. Your doctor can offer support and guidance.


Source: Orlando Health, www.orlandohealth.com


Huff’s Quality AC

positively osceola

24/7 Osceola News and Events!

Stay on top of Osceola News with Positively Osceola Weekly -  delivered straight to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!