By: Nagma Gargi, Pharm.D. Candidate c/o 2013
Smoking cessation programs are extremely important in our society as increasing evidence emerges showing the correlation between smoking and the risk factors for various disease states. Thus as professionals it is our duty to educate ourselves first, then our patients. In this article, I want to discuss some practical tips and information that can be used to make patients aware and understand the need to quit smoking.
Tip 1: DON’T be discouraged by past failures.
You’ve probably tried to quit smoking before and failed. That is not a big deal. Take each failure as a learning experience, and keep moving forward towards your end goal.
Tip 2: Determine exactly WHY you want to quit.
Quitting isn’t an easy decision. Take a deep breath, seclude yourself, and reflect on your biggest motivation for quitting. Do you want to enjoy the rest of your life healthy? Do you wish to make more memories with your loved ones? Do you want to start playing basketball again without losing your breath? Save money and fulfill your dream trip to Europe? Whatever the case may be, write down your reason on a piece of paper, and carry it with you at all times. Whenever the temptation to smoke drives you crazy, read it, and envision yourself accomplishing your goal.
Tip 3: Set a QUIT DAY.
Decide on a quit date several weeks ahead so you can start imagining your life as a nonsmoker. Before Quit Day, thoroughly clean your house and get rid of any/all secret stashes of cigarettes that you may have. Clean up ashtrays and butts that you’ve flicked near your house.
Tip 4: Have a SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Speak to your family, friends, and coworkers about your desire to quit smoking. Managing unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common reasons why adults smoke. When it seems like cigarettes are your only friend, have a friend you can really count on in all times of trouble, even when it’s 2 AM.
Tip 5: Discuss your OPTIONS.
All 50 states have free quit-smoking telephone lines, staffed with well-trained counselors to help devise a plan and provide you medical advice. We’re fortunate enough to be living in an era where such a vast amount of guidance is available. Call today to find out more about Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and the current prescription medications available to help you quit.
Tip 6: Avoid TRIGGERS.
Analyze your regular smoking pattern, and pinpoint situations that compel you to reach for a cigarette. You don’t need to keep company with your friends who still smoke. Avoid corridors, staircases, and walkways, where you anticipate most smokers typically get together. It may sound silly, but try holding your breath for ten seconds as you walk past a smoker to avoid a craving. Cut back on coffee if you tend to smoke right after it. Monitor your drinking behavior as well (smoking and drinking usually go hand-in-hand). It takes a maximum of ten minutes for a craving to last. Try to preoccupy yourself with something else you love doing for those ten minutes (i.e. listen to music, call a buddy, eat your favorite food, read a magazine, exercise, etc).
Tip 7: REWARD yourself.
Don’t think of quitting as a way of punishing yourself. Set daily and weekly goals for yourself, and view it as a journey with a rewarding endpoint. Decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. With the money you’ll now be saving, you can invest time in other activities you enjoy. Spend a day at the spa, enroll at the gym, go on a shopping spree, join a book club, or try that new authentic restaurant that recently opened up on your block.
Tip 8: BE realistic.
Quitting may initially cause an appetite boost. Be aware, and make food selections accordingly. However, you need to concentrate on the bigger picture here. The countless threats cigarette smoking imposes on your health and the resulting consequences from them definitely outweigh a slight weight gain. DON’T run towards food as an escape. As you’ll start to see an improvement in your breathing rate, you will now be able to exercise, and commence a more active energetic lifestyle.
Healthcare Professionals: talktoyourpatients.org