Congratulations! You have taken the first step towards tobacco
freedom by reading this Alegent Health Web page. Stopping tobacco use
could be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make for your
future health and well-being.
Nicotine: A Powerful Addiction
According to the Surgeon General's Report on tobacco use, "smoking harms
nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reducing the
health of smokers in general." Studies of former smokers show that the
substantial risks of smoking can be reduced by successfully quitting at
any age. Despite these facts, it is tough to quit because nicotine is
a very addictive drug. For some people, it can be as addictive as heroin
or cocaine. Usually people make several tries before finally being able
to quit. Each time you try to quit, you can learn about what helps and
what hurts. It must be your choice. Your reasons to quit must be forceful
Treating your tobacco dependence is most successful when you take a multi-component
approach of learning new skills, getting support, and using medications.
These recommendations endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, Clinical Practice Guideline
are described below:
Five Keys for Quitting
1. Get Ready
- Set a quit date.
- Get rid of all tobacco products and ashtrays in home, car, and place
- Review your past attempts to quit.
- Track your triggers that cue you to smoke for a day to help you develop
- • Once you quit, remember "N.O.P.E."—NOT ONE PUFF EVER.
2. Get suppport and encouragement
Tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit and
want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes
Talk to your health care provider (for example, doctor, dentist, nurse,
pharmacist, psychologist, or tobacco treatment counselor).
Get individual, group or telephone counseling. The more counseling you
have, the better your chances are of quitting.
3. Learn new skills and behaviors
Try to distract yourself from urges to use tobacco products. The urge
will pass in a few minutes. Talk to your support person, go for a walk,
or get busy with a project.
4. Consider medication and use it correctly
- When you first try to quit, change your routine.
- Do something to reduce your stress. Enjoy a hot bath, read a book,
or take a few slow deep breaths.
- Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
- Drink a lot of water and other low calorie beverages.
Ask your health care provider for advice on the use of medications and carefully
read the information on the package. Medications can double your chances
of quitting and quitting for good.
- Medications can help lessen the craving to use tobacco products. The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved six medications
to help you quit using tobacco products:
- Bupropion SR- available by prescription
- Varenicline- available by prescription
- Nicotine gum- available over-the-counter
- Nicotine inhaler- available by prescription
- Nicotine nasal spray- available by prescription
- Nicotine patch- available over-the-counter
5. Be prepared for relapse or diffcult situations
Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Here are some
difficult situations to watch for:
Don’t be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember your reasons
for quitting and tell yourself the urge will pass. In this process,
you will probably learn a great deal and will change your lifestyle in many
wonderful ways. Our wish for you at Alegent health is to use the tools given
to your for creating and maintaining healthy habits for life.
- Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Other smokers. Being around smoke can make you want to smoke.
- Weight gain. Many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually
less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Some quit-smoking
medications may help delay weight gain.
- Bad mood or depression. There are many ways to improve your mood other
For help in your state call, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
American Lung Association -1-800-548-8252
Many of the cancer organizations have people and materials that can
give you help. Three national organizations are:
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society