Quit Smoking Help
There is no silver bullet when it comes to deciding how to quit smoking, but acquiring knowledge of the various
resources to help quit, how to start a quit smoking plan and what to expect once a plan is started is critical to
the success any endeavor to stop smoking.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and worldwide. It causes one out of five
deaths in the United States. According to recent statistics, 440,000 Americans die each year from the
health-related consequences of smoking.
Despite these alarming statistics which are compelling reasons to quit smoking, currently 45 million Americans
(20% of adults in the United States) and well over 1.3 billion people worldwide smoke. One third of people between
the ages of 18 and 24 smoke and two thirds of the known smokers continue to smoke during pregnancy.
Although lung cancer is the most commonly linked to smoking, many other cancers are also related to smoking as are
other diseases such as stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and high blood pressure. Less
serious problems such as impotence, skin damage, premature aging, immune system alteration, bad breath and
increased risk during surgical procedures are also consequences of smoking.
70% of smokers want to quit smoking, and each year approximately 20,000,000 Americans (40% of smokers)
attempt to stop smoking, but unfortunately many are unsuccessful. This illustrates the magnitude of the tobacco
dependence and the fact that it is a chronic problem which oftentimes requires multiple efforts and different
approaches or combinations of approaches to overcome. Many who are unsuccessful in their effort(s) to quit
smoking have attempted to do so without any professional advice and/or have not become equipped with information
necessary to develop a structured quit smoking plan.
Once a quit smoking plan is begun, it is important to understand and recognize nicotine withdrawal symptoms
which are best managed by healthcare professionals with one of nicotine replacement products or one of the two
available prescription pills.
Non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy is available in the form of gum, patches, lozenges, inhaler or nasal
spray and is an effective tool to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms, but if used chronically can result in
substituting a cigarette nicotine addiction with a different form of nicotine addiction.
FDA approved prescription pills, Chantix (varencine) and Zyban (bupropion) are effective in helping some
individuals quit smoking, but are not safe to use during pregnancy. Also of note is the fact that as of January
1, 2009 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the manufacturers of these medications to include a
boxed warning, notifying consumers that some people who have taken them to help stop smoking have reported
experiencing unusual behavioral changes including depression, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide while
using the drugs. Other drugs such as the seizure medication, Topiragen (topiramate) and Catapress TTS
(clonidine) are sometimes used to aid in smoking cessation, but are not approved for that use by the FDA (Food
and Drug Administration). Moreover, topiramate can cause some very serious side-effects.
Education and mental preparation are very important both prior to and during your smoking cessation program.
They can motivate you to stop smoking, help you develop a quit smoking plan, lessen the likelihood of relapse, and
help to cope with relapse if it occurs.
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