Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Simplest Method To Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the most common preventable factors in human disease and illness. Smokers who quit lower their risks for a host of ailments, including lung cancer, emphysema, pneumonia, bronchitis, strokes and heart attacks. While quitting smoking is a serious challenge, success in beating addiction is an achievable goal. Research shows that the easiest way to stop smoking is to combine behavioral changes with treatment for physical nicotine addiction and counseling.

Behavioral Changes

If you want to quit smoking, prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. Breaking an addiction can be extremely difficult, and clarifying your goals ahead of time can be an enormous help. Pick a particular date to quit smoking. Tell your doctor, friends and loved ones about your plans. Ahead of your quit date, begin removing tobacco and smoking-related items from some of the places you commonly smoke, like your car or workplace. Learn how much you rely on smoking by charting how frequently you smoke, as well as the times of day (in the morning, after meals, during breaks, etc.) you are most prone to light up.

In addition to these steps, you will also need to modify some of your behaviors after you stop smoking. Avoid social situations (bars, smoking restaurants) that trigger smoking. Find activities or healthy foods that occupy your hands. Find replacement objects (toothpicks, carrots, sugar-free gum) for your mouth. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Frequent non-smoking places (libraries, gyms, museums). Use exercise to engage your body and mind.

Addressing Physical Addiction

You can address your physical addiction to nicotine through use of a number of different options.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a method that temporarily replaces smoking with products that deliver lower controlled doses of nicotine. This allows smokers to wean themselves from reliance on higher amounts of nicotine, and also cuts out exposure to the many additional dangerous substances contained in cigarettes. Nicotine replacement is available in a number of non-prescription and prescription forms, including gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers and nasal spray. Whichever form you choose, it is important to follow the instructions that come with the product. Be aware that these therapies are temporary supports leading to an end of nicotine use. They are not meant as lower-nicotine alternatives for continued addiction. Consult your doctor for the specific risks involved with different forms of NRT.

Two non-nicotine prescription medications have been developed to combat nicotine addiction. Buproprion SR (Zyban) is a sustained-release antidepressant that curbs withdrawal symptoms and nicotine cravings. Varenicline (Chantix) has similar effects, with the added ability to block nicotine receptors in the brain. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the highest possible usage warnings for both of these medications, citing possibility of depression, suicidal thoughts and hostile behavior. See your doctor for full information regarding these products.

Counseling and Support

Access the many counseling resources available to you. Call the American Cancer Society's Quitline, or similar resources in your area, for free phone access to trained counselors. Ask your doctor for information on stop smoking programs that employ trained personnel. Join a support group where you can share experiences with others who are in the process of breaking nicotine addiction.

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