What are the benefits of smoking cessation?
By quitting smoking, you reduce the chances of dying from cardiovascular disease, lung disease or cancer. You also reduce the chances of getting osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones weaker. Furthermore, quitting smoking helps keeping your skin younger and sexual problems are less likely to develop. Quitting smoking improves your overall health regardless of age, and no matter how long you have smoked during your life.
What should I do if I want to stop smoking?
- Set a quit date.
- Announce to your family, friends and your environment that you intend to stop smoking.
- Be prepared for the “difficult” days to come when you stop smoking.
- Remove all tobacco products (cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, etc.) from your home, car and workplace.
- Talk to your doctor about your plan regarding smoking cessation.
How can my doctor help me?
Your doctor can give you advice on how to achieve your goal. You can get support and he can put you in touch with people who can help you. Moreover, he may give you medication to:
- Reduce your desire to smoke
- Reduce unwanted symptoms that may occur when you stop smoking.
What the symptoms may occur if you stop smoking?
The symptoms may include the following:
- Sleep disorders
- Restlessness, anxiety, agitation
- Easy irritability
- Concentration disorders
Some people who stop smoking experience transient depression. Others eventually need medication for depression, such as antidepressants or counseling intervention by a psychologist. If you experience depression during smoking cessation, inform your doctor.
How do drugs help in smoking cessation?
Different medicines work differently:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy: Helps in smoking cessation and reduces the desire to smoke. They contain nicotine which is the main substance in cigarettes that causes addiction. It is available in various formats such as skin patches, lozenges and chewing gums. Also it is available in the form of nasal spray and inhaled aerosols.
- Bupropion hydrochloride: This medication reduces the desire to smoke. International brands of the drug is Zyban ® and Wellbutrin ®.
- Varenicline (Champix ®): Reduces desire for tobacco and relieves smoking cessation symptoms. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or heart disease, talk with your doctor before you start taking the medicine.
If you are taking bupropion hydrochloride or varenicline and you suffer from any of the following symptoms:
- Intense nervousness
- Strange behavior
- Suicidal ideas
stop the medication and call your doctor
How does the counseling intervention help in smoking cessation?
Counseling intervention can take place during the visits to your doctor or even by phone. It may help you with the following:
- To understand what makes you want to smoke and what you can do as an alternative to avoid smoking
- To overcome the craving for a cigarette
- To understand what went wrong in any previous failed attempt of smoking cessation.
Which treatment modality has the greatest success for smoking cessation?
Research has shown that subjects receiving medications plus counseling are more likely to succed in smoking cessation. People also have better results if they combine nicotine replacement therapapy with any other medication.
Does smoking cessation smoking predispose to weight gain?
Yes, you can gain body weight. However, by stopping smoking you will have more benefits in your health comparing to the negative effects of increasing body weight. Moreover, by eating less and doing more exercise, you can control any weight gain. Taking bupropion hydrochloride may not predispose you to an increase in body weight anyway.
What else might help you to have more chances to achieve smoking cessation?
- Start exercising
- Avoid close contact with smokers or places where there are smokers. If there are people in your close environment who smoke, talk with them and ask them at least not to smoke when you are with them.
- Chew gum or candy or anything else handy in your mouth. If you have a strong desire to smoke a cigarette, use the above in place of a cigarette.
- Do not abandon your effort, even if you restart smoking. Most people succeed in permanent cessation of smoking after many efforts.
Pregnancy and smoking
If you are pregnant, it is extremely important for your health and the health of your child to stop smoking immediately. Ask your doctor about the various treatment options discuss with him which is safer for your child.