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 Smoking, Drinking & Addiction

 
How to Stop Smoking
Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy
 
Quitting is hard. Smokers often say, "Don't tell me why to quit, tell me how." But then, there is no one right way to quit, though there are some key guidelines to help in quitting smoking successfully.

Believe that making the decision to quit smoking is right
The Health Belief Model, a psychological model used to treat and predict general health behaviors, says that you will be more likely to stop tobacco use if you:
  • Believe that you could contract a tobacco-related disease, and this worries you
  • Believe that you can make an honest attempt at quitting
  • Believe that the benefits of quitting outweigh the benefits of continuing
  • Know of someone who has had health problems as a result of their tobacco use.
Get ready
Once you've made the decision to quit, you're ready to pick a quit date. This is a very important step. Pick a specific day as your "Quit Day." For instance, you could set a quit date 2 to 4 weeks from now so you'll have time to get ready. Now gear up to the day you will be rid of your habit. Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and place of work. Don't let people smoke in your home. Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not. Practice saying, "No thank you, I don't smoke."

Get support and encouragement
You have a better chance of being successful if you have help. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are going to quit. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out where you cannot see them.

Get medication and use it correctly
Medicines such as bupropion help some people stop smoking. These medicines do not contain nicotine, but help you resist your urges to smoke.

Keep trying
Be prepared for relapse. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. Here are some difficult situations to watch out for:
  • Alcohol - Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
  • Other smokers - Being around smokers can make you want to smoke.
  • Bad mood or depression - There are a many ways to elevate your mood other than resorting to smoking.
Nicotine substitutes to help quit smoking
When you light up, it is only the nicotine that gives you the kick, but the rest of the smoke that causes damage. Actually, nicotine is not one of the cancer causing agents, it’s simply the reason you crave a cigarette. So you could consider nicotine replacement products as ways to take in the nicotine without the rest of the cancer causing chemicals in cigarette smoke. These products come in several forms: gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler and lozenge.

Nicotine substitutes treat the difficult withdrawal symptoms and cravings that 70% to 90% of smokers find their only reason for not giving up cigarettes. By using a nicotine substitute, a smoker's withdrawal symptoms are reduced. This lets you focus on the changes you need to make in your habits and environment. Once you feel more confident as a non-smoker, dealing with your nicotine addiction is easier. Of course, it's very important that you don't smoke while using nicotine replacement products. The nicotine contained in nicotine substitutes is absorbed differently compared to the nicotine in cigarettes, so the substitutes are much less addictive. And nicotine substitutes do not cause cancer.

While quite a large number of smokers are able to quit smoking without the help of nicotine substitutes, others find it difficult to be successful quitters. Such people can use nicotine replacement therapy and a support technique. Remember that it is important to make the decision to quit. Smokers who want to quit have a better chance of being successful.
Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy is Senior Consultant in ENT - Neurotology and Head & Neck Oncosurgery

  
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