Reasons to Stop Smoking
- Quitting smoking can make you look and feel younger, make your house smell better and your food taste better. You can have healthier skin, fresher breath, and whiter, healthier teeth.
- Quitting smoking may save you $1300 or more per year.
- Quitting smoking will improve the quality of life and reduce the risk of second hand smoke to your family members. Second hand smoke is documented to affect the health of those around you. Family members of smokers have a 25-30 percent higher risk of heart disease.
- Quitting smoking can prevent the following which can be caused or worsened by smoking:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, and asthma
- Increased risk of stroke
- Heart disease and coronary artery disease and increased risk of a heart attack
- One year after quitting, your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
- Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your risk drops to the same as if you never smoked.
How To Quit
- It is much easier to quit with help. Enroll in a smoking cessation program if your insurance covers one. Let friends and family know when you plan to quit and ask them to help. Sign a smoking contract and have family and friends witness it.
- If you have tried to quit before, use what you have learned from previous attempts to help you develop strategies.
- One of the most successful methods for quitting is to pick a date to stop smoking in advance and be prepared to stop on that date.
- Talk with your doctor about medications to help control symptoms of stopping if needed. Nicotine replacement gum or patches may help. These are available without prescription but may be covered by your prescription insurance. Zyban (Bupropion) and Chantix (Varenicline) are two of the prescription medications to assist with symptoms.
- Weight gain is often a concern when stopping smoking but the average weight gain is just 6 pounds. Avoiding high calorie foods, chewing gum, and getting regular exercise, when permitted, can help avoid weight gain. If you chose a quit date in advance, lose some weight before your quit date. Do not try to diet and quit at the same time. One stressor at a time is enough.
- Combining interventions such as physician advice and follow-up with nicotine gum and behavior modification may increase success rates. Smoking cessation programs seem especially helpful for people who smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day.
- Investigate whether your insurance covers behavior therapy for smoking cessation. It is often covered.
- Support groups and programs for quitters increase the likelihood of success.
- Some of the local drug stores may offer support groups.
- Several Hypnotists in the area advertise help with Smoking Cessation.
- For computer users, online support groups and forums can help. The following are websites that might be helpful:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Smoking Cessation
Is the Nicotine Patch Effective for Smoking Cessation?
Studies have shown that using nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) can be helpful in a person's quit program, and that using the nicotine patch can double the rate of success with smoking cessation.
What Do Nicotine Patches Look Like?
The nicotine patch resembles a square or circular tan or clear bandage. The size depends on the dosage and brand used, but generally is between one and two square inches.
How Does the Nicotine Patch Work?
The nicotine patch provides a steady, controlled dose of nicotine throughout the day thereby reducing the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Patch strength is reduced over time, allowing the user to wean themselves off of nicotine gradually.
How Do I Use the Nicotine Patch?
Nicotine patches typically come in three different dosage strengths: 21mg, 14mg and 7mg, though this may vary between manufacturers slightly. These numbers refer to the amount of nicotine in the product.
The 21mg patch is usually recommended as a starting point for people who smoke a pack of 20 cigarettes or more daily. From there, following package instructions. The user 'steps down' to lower dose patches until the final step down to no patch.
The nicotine patch should be applied once a day to clean, dry, hairless skin on the upper body or upper outer arm. Apply each patch to a different site each day to reduce skin irritation. Manufacturers usually recommend wearing the patch between 16 and 24 hours a day, depending on what you're comfortable with. However, wearing the nicotine patch to bed at night can disrupt sleep and cause vivid dreams. If this becomes a concern, remove the patch before bed and put a fresh one on the next morning.
What are the Side Effects Associated with the Nicotine Patch?
Side effects of nicotine patches may include:
- Itching, burning or tingling when the patch is applied. This usually goes away within an hour, and is a result of nicotine coming in contact with the skin.
- Redness or swelling at the patch site for up to 24 hours.
- Upset stomach
If any of the above symptoms are severe or do not go away, consult your doctor.
Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- severe rash or swelling
- abnormal heartbeat or rhythm
- difficulty breathing
If you take any other medications, be sure to check with your doctor before starting the patch, as it can change the way some medicines work.
Let your doctor know if you have any illnesses, including the following:
- chest pains or a recent heart attack
- heart disease
- stomach ulcers
- thyroid disease
- skipped or irregular heart beats
- allergies to tapes, bandages or medicines
- skin rashes or skin diseases
- high blood pressure
- kidney or liver disease
Smoking While Using the Nicotine Patch
Do not smoke when using nicotine patches or any other Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), as you run the risk of receiving an overdose of nicotine.
Signs of a nicotine overdose may include:
- upset stomach
- bad headaches
- cold sweats
- blurred vision
- hearing problems
- weakness or fainting
If you suspect an overdose, take the patch off and call your doctor immediately.
Medline Plus - Drugs and Supplements - U.S. National Library of Medicine
About Nicoderm CQ - GlaxoSmithKline, Inc.
Silagy, C et al. Meta-analysis on efficacy of nicotine replacement therapies in smoking cessation Lancet 1994 Jan 15;343(8890):139
Quit Smoking Meetings/Resources for Richmond, VA
Nicotine Anonymous Meeting
Smoking Cessation Support Group - Bon Secours
Smoking Cessation Counseling - The Dameron Center for Smoking Cessation