Smoking Cessation

The evidence is irrefutable: smoking is hazardous to your health. It has been directly linked to cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory disorders. Tobacco use is the single most common preventable cause of death; half of those who continue to smoke will die from their addiction. Quitting is difficult and often requires repeated attempts, but the health benefits far outweigh any temporary discomfort.

The Benefits of Smoking Cessation

Nicotine addiction is the most common type of chemical dependence in the U.S. Studies show it as every bit as addictive as alcohol and drugs. Breaking the habit can be challenging, and may lead to irritability, stress, anxiety, and weight gain, but doing so reduces your risk of developing a number of illnesses and terminal diseases, and can add years to your life. The health benefits begin almost immediately.

When you quit smoking, your circulation and breathing improve, your blood pressure drops, and your sense of smell and taste will return. With each year you remain tobacco-free, your odds of contracting cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and breathing ailments decrease. Plus, you’re helping family and friends by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke, which can be every bit as dangerous.

How to Quit Smoking

There are many different smoking cessation methods: what works for one person may not be the best approach for another. Frequently, it takes more than one attempt to give up cigarettes for good. Some people are able to quit “cold turkey,” while others benefit from medication, counseling, or a combination of methods.

Nicotine dependence can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges, or with prescription nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays. Individual and group counseling sessions (e.g. Nicotine Anonymous) can provide additional support. Self-help tools such as books, online newsgroups, and forums may help. Many deal with oral cravings by substituting electronic cigarettes, chewing gum, or toothpicks for cigarettes.

Occasionally, it takes a clinical intervention to help convince somebody to quit. Behavioral cessation therapy can help people overcome their bad habits.