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Health Notes: November 2015

11/03/2015 08:58AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

Stop smoking: Tips for success.

by Ellen S. Mullen M.D.

Giving up a habit is never easy. However, giving up nicotine is one of the best things you can do for your health because it is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. The million dollar question is: HOW? Here is a stepwise process that will help you succeed.

Get ready: Plan your stop date. Preferably in 2-4 weeks so you have time to prepare. In this time write down when and why you smoke. Discover what triggers you to smoke. Begin reducing the amount you smoke even if it is by one less cigarette a day. Assure that you are not trying to quit during a particularly stressful time. Consider quitting when there may be a change in your life such as between semesters, on a break from work or when you have been sick. As your quit date approaches clean out your car and home. Remove all reminders of smoking such as ashtrays or lighters.  

Get support: Tell all of your friends and family of your plans to quit. Ask them, specifically, for their encouragement and tell them what you need them to do for you. Consider calling 1-800-QUITNOW. Visit your doctor and find out ways they may assist you.

Handle stress: Look into stressors that cause you to smoke. Discover better and healthier ways to handle stress other than smoking. Some ways may include hot baths, exercise, breathing techniques, prayer, or meditation. List hobbies that you enjoy doing and decide to resume these.

Consider medications: Discuss with your health care provider medications that may assist you in quitting. Nicotine replacement comes in all types now. There are inhalers, patches, nose spray, lozenges, and gum. There are also over the counter electronic cigarettes. Two prescription non-nicotine medications that may be right for you include bupropion and varenicline. Check with your doctor to see if any of these may help.

Prepare for relapse: Lots of people do not succeed in quitting on their first try. If this occurs look at why you relapsed and how this could be handled differently in the future. Don’t view this as a failure, but as a chance to learn more about your smoking addiction. This could be the key to helping you quit the next time. Look back at your reasons for quitting and DON’T GIVE UP! KEEP TRYING!

Today, Health+Wellness Stop smoking: Tips for success. Health Notes: November 2015
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