Smoking Cessation Programs in Hickory, NC
Nicotine cravings can interfere with your day-to-day life, and quitting smoking can help you take back control of your life as well as improve your health; smoking can be extremely unhealthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 480,000 people die each year in the U.S. from conditions caused by smoking or second-hand smoke, such as lung, mouth, and throat cancers.
With the help of medicine and support groups, you can create a smoking cessation plan that can help you quit smoking.
To schedule a tobacco addiction consultation in Hickory, NC, call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
Why Quit Smoking?
Smoking is associated with a wide variety of serious health problems, most notably lung cancer. Other smoking-related conditions include:
- Mouth, stomach, and liver cancers
- Respiratory diseases like tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease
- Premature birth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in children of smokers
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Smoking cessation gives you the ability to take control of your health, as quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing these diseases and suffering heart attacks and strokes. Choosing to quit smoking not only benefits you, but those around you, as people exposed to second-hand smoke can develop the same smoking-related health problems as smokers.
Besides improving your long-term health, your example may deter those around you from picking up their first cigarettes, or you may inspire other smokers to quit. By setting this positive example, you may increase someone’s lifespan; according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average life of a smoker is 12 years shorter than non-smokers.
Preparing to Quit
One of the best ways to quit smoking is to work with a medical professional to create a smoking cessation program plan tailored specifically to your needs. When creating your plan, make sure that you set realistic goals for yourself, and take your time; smoking cessation may take several weeks or longer.
Before you begin your plan, follow these steps to help make quitting easier:
- Pick a date to stop smoking, preferably within two weeks of your decision to stop
- Write down your reasons for wanting to quit and use that for motivation
- Make a list of reasons (triggers) for why you smoke, and avoid those triggers whenever possible
- Tell the people around you that you plan to quit and, if you’re comfortable asking them, request that they be part of your support system to provide comfort and encouragement when needed
- Research medications that may help ease your nicotine withdrawal symptoms
- Be aware of when you smoke, and find ways to break the association of that period with smoking; e.g., if you smoke after meals, spend that time going on walks or chewing gum
- Find activities to replace smoking; even finding ways to occupy your hands during social situations can help
What to Expect While Quitting
On the day you plan to quit smoking, start the morning without a cigarette. Stop carrying a lighter, matches, cigarettes, and/or tobacco, and try to distract yourself if you find yourself thinking of what you’re missing. Focus instead on what you are gaining by quitting.
One of the most difficult parts of smoking cessation—and a common reason many people do not succeed—is nicotine withdrawal. Common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may include:
- Intense cravings for nicotine
- Physical sickness
- Anger or irritability
- Poor sleep
- Weight gain
One common method to offset nicotine withdrawal is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT medications are used to supply the body with a fraction of the nicotine found in cigarettes in order to lessen the effects of withdrawal. Various over-the-counter NRT products are available, including nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges. If over-the-counter NRT medications do not have high enough doses of nicotine, prescription NRT medications are also available, and may include nasal sprays and inhalers.
Non-nicotine prescription medications also may help with smoking cessation. Two of these are varenicline, a drug that prevents nicotine from affecting the brain, and bupropion, an antidepressant that may help offset withdrawal-related depression. Ask your healthcare provider if any of these smoking cessation medications are right for you.
How to Deal with Relapses
Addiction is a disease, and relapse—smoking even after you have promised yourself you will stop—is a symptom; there is no shame in having symptoms of an illness. Whenever you feel the urge to relapse, try one of these tips:
- Take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds, and then slowly exhale
- Spend time with non-smokers and share your achievements with them
- If you smoked while drinking alcohol or coffee, avoid alcohol, or slowly reduce how much coffee you drink to avoid caffeine withdrawal
- Give your mouth something to do by drinking plenty of water, herbal tea, and juices, or by eating low-calorie foods
If you do relapse, assure yourself that relapses are normal, remind yourself why you initially chose to quit, and try to recall the advantages of quitting and reach out to a member of your support network for encouragement. Having a support network of friends and family can be critical, but counseling from a mental health expert can be effective in both treating and preventing relapses. Support groups for smoking cessation may also be available in your area. Talk to your healthcare provider about what medication and therapy may help prevent you from relapsing.
Results of Smoking Cessation
The results of smoking cessation can be seen almost immediately after your last cigarette:
- After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse decrease, and the temperature in your hands and feet increases
- After eight hours, your blood’s carbon monoxide levels return to normal, and your oxygen levels increase
- After 24 hours, your chance of a heart attack decreases
- After 48 hours, your ability to taste and smell begin to return
- After about 72 hours, your airways relax
Within a year of smoking cessation, your circulation and stamina will improve, and the cilia—fine, hairline projections from certain cells that help keep the lungs clear—begin to regrow, which helps you breathe more easily. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following disease risks decline after you quit smoking:
- Heart disease risk decreases to half that of a current smoker after a year
- Risk of stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker after five years
- Risk of dying from lung cancer is reduced to that of a non-smoker after ten years
Request Smoking Cessation Therapy Consultation in Hickory
Nicotine withdrawal is an unavoidable and sometimes grueling aspect of kicking a tobacco habit, and it can make smoking cessation difficult. But if you’re struggling to quit smoking, you are not alone. Healthcare providers can work with you to focus on creating smoking cessation programs to help you succeed.
For more information about tobacco addiction and smoking cessation, schedule a quit smoking consultation in Hickory, NC by calling (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center
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