Smoking Cessation

The following is from a presentation given by Dr. John Burroughs
on March 27, 2001, at The Dish in Liberty, MO.
Why Should I Quit Smoking?

Most people are aware of the health risks caused by smoking. Smoking is responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. This about 20% of all deaths annually. Smoking is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. Smoking increases the risk of developing cancer by 23 times for men and by 13 times in women. By quitting smoking, you also reduce the dangers of second-hand smoke to the people around you, especially children. Second-hand smoke increases the risk of ear infections, asthma, and SIDS in children.

How Do I Quit?

The most important factor in stopping smoking successfully is deciding that you want to quit. Succeeding takes preparation and hard work. Although some people quit "cold turkey" without much difficulty, for most people it is a difficult process that includes a change in your lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help you:

Set a "Quit Date"
This is the day that you will become an ex-smoker. Set a day that will be 2-4 weeks away. This will give you time to prepare. Try to avoid times that will be extra stressful, but sometimes periods when your life changes (new job, new addition to the family) are good times to stop smoking.

Make a List of Why You Want to Quit
Read this list when you are craving a cigarette.

Determine When, Where, and Why You Smoke
These situations and people will be your major obstacles to success. Plan how you will avoid smoking when these obstacles arise.

Get Help
Let your family, friends, and your family doctor know of your plans and ask for their help.

Throw Away Your Tobacco
This includes ashtrays, lighters, etc. that you associate with smoking.
When Your Quit Date Arrives, Quit: Delaying your start makes it much more difficult to succeed.

Can Medications Help Me Quit?

Medications can help with both nicotine addiction and the habit of smoking. There are several different nicotine replacement systems to help overcome your body's addiction to nicotine. These include gum, patches, nasal spray, and inhalers. Please make an appointment with one of our doctors to decide what would work best for you. Some systems can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. Zyban (bupropion) has been very helpful in treating the habit of smoking. This medication is very well tolerated, but should be avoided in certain medical conditions. It can be used with nicotine replacement and is often associated with weight loss during use. Make an appointment with our doctors to see if Zyban can help you.

What If I Start Again?

There is no such thing as failing when you try to stop smoking. The risk of smoking to your health is proportional to the total number of cigarettes smoked in your lifetime. So every cigarette that you do not smoke while trying to stop has improved your health. Also, the thing most common among people who have successfully quit smoking is that they tried and were unsuccessful in the past. If you start smoking again, try to determine why, then start planning how you will be more successful next time.

Will I Gain Weight?

Weight gain is possible when trying to stop smoking. The gain is usually mild, and some people actually lose weight. Weight gain is most likely in people who substitute food for smoking. Exercise can be very helpful in preventing weight gain by providing an outlet for the stress of quitting and also by reducing your appetite.

Helpful Internet Sites
http://www.aafp.org/ Search for "smoking cessation" and download helpful patient education information
http://www.lungusa.org/ Join the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking Program
http://www.cancer.org/ Join the American Cancer Society's Fresh Start Program