Are you planning on lighting up this summer? No, I’m not talking about fireworks. Smoking kills over 480,000 people a year. If you are a smoker, continue to read for tips on how to save your life.
To keep it simple, I will only summarize the dangers of smoking. I’m sure you’ve heard it all. You’ve heard that smoking kills you, your family, and friends. Smoking is a leading risk factor and cause of heart disease, respiratory diseases, most cancers, high blood pressure, and kills 1 in 3 users. You may also have heard that secondhand smoke kills 42,000 a year. Smoking is directly linked to early death. Are you outraged yet?
Have you tried to quit before? Smoking is an addiction. Average users try to quit 9 times before successful. When you quit smoking, many of the dangers listed above are greatly reduced. Quitting before the age of 40 reduces the risks of dying from a smoking related disease by 90%! If you need more convincing, imagine the overall money you can save each month by stopping the habit. If you are a heavy smoker, quitting could save you enough for a new car payment!
As you may have heard, there are numerous products on the market to help you quit smoking. All of the nicotine replacement products focus on delivering a long dose of nicotine into your system to reduce your body’s cravings. Therefore, these products focus on your physical response to nicotine. Each product differs in the way it delivers nicotine into your blood stream. My personal favorite to recommend as first choice is the patch. The dose of the patch will depend on how many cigarettes you smoke per day. If the patch isn’t enough, I like to recommend the nicotine gum in combination with the patch. Other products include lozenges and the nicotine inhaler. Electronic cigarettes are still delivering short doses of nicotine and are not recommended. Please check with your physician before initiating any nicotine replacement therapy.
Prescription only agents for smoking cessation include Zyban (buproprion) and Chantix (varenicline). These work by easing the addictive response your brain has to smoking cigarettes. Without getting too involved, your brain releases neurotransmitters in a rush every time you inhale. These pharmacological agents increase certain neurotransmitters over a longer period of time to keep your brain happy!
In addition to over the counter drugs and pharmaceuticals, there are many social support networks to help quit. To be successful in smoking cessation both social support and pharmacological agents should be used to help you quit. Some states even offer free products to those willing to quit and a toll free phone number 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Visit smokefree.gov for more information for social support systems.
All in all, smoking is dangerous and can kill you and those around you. With the products and support out there, it seems silly not to quit. Quit now to save your life!
Sources: Center of Disease Control, smokefree.gov, National Institute of Health