Smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths.
Tobacco contains chemicals that can make this addiction particularly insidious. Jonathan Bricker, a professor of public health science at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that entering the lungs can cause harmful effects such as bronchitis.
Fortunately, quitting smoking and learning to “continue to quit smoking” can prevent lung cancer, says Dr. Panagis Gallia Satos, director of the Johns Hopkins Medical Tobacco Treatment Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. Said.
Here are six actions you and your loved ones can take to quit smoking and enjoy a healthier life:
1. Focus on how to “keep quitting”
The goal is not to quit smoking. Rather, it should be in a “keep quitting” way, Galiatsatos said. He said some patients had quit many times, but they couldn’t stop forever.
He recommends that people divide their larger goal of quitting into smaller goals.
For example, learn about the various triggers that may make you want to smoke. That way, you can pay attention and find solutions to those actions.
2. Make every time you stop learning experience
Most people who smoke cigarettes quit smoking 8 to 12 times before quitting permanently because of their addiction, Bricker said.
Recurrences are so common that Bricker directs patients to find lessons learned from their experiences.
“People have learned how powerful these thirsts are, whether seeing the smoke of friends is a big trigger for me, or the stress of my life.” Let’s do it, “Bricker said.
He said patients should work on quitting, in that the more they learn from the recurrence, the more likely they are to quit forever.
3. Use phone line and app for support
As the number of support groups for people who want to quit smoking is declining, Bricker recommended calling the quit smoking helpline for outside assistance.
Callers are connected to coaches who help smokers plan to quit smoking and give advice when faced with withdrawal or thirst.
Currently, the state stop hotline reaches only about 1% of smokers. This is mainly due to the lack of funds for the CDC to promote its services.
This app focuses on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. This allows people to accept emotions and thoughts rather than push them away. According to Bricker, the tool also provides resources to stop and handle cravings when they occur.
4. Talk to your healthcare provider
Those who wish to quit smoking can consult with their healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that is filled with multiple strategies, Galiatsatos said.
He said doctors could prescribe medications to reduce their thirst for cigarettes and make them easier to handle. This is a short-term solution that helps train the brain so that it doesn’t want too much cigarettes, Bricker added.
The medicines offered by doctors will depend on your particular situation, Bricker said. Nicotine prescription tends to be minimal at first and then escalate according to the severity of the addiction.
5. Supporting smoking addicts
Galliazzatos said he has never met a patient who did not yet know that smoking was bad, so it is advisable to avoid that discussion when appealing to a loved one who smokes.
“If you’re really serious about helping your loved one quit, you have to approach it as a parent smoker and a smoker,” he said.
When trying to help smokers, make it clear that you are approaching the situation without stigma or judgment, Galiatsatos said.
Once trust is established, he recommends that friends and family help find resources on how smokers can quit smoking.
Healthcare providers should also help patients who smoke, Galiatsatos said.
If a patient feels that smoking has been judged by a doctor, they may lie about it. And that doesn’t help anyone, he said.
Even if the patient is not motivated to quit smoking that day, it is important to outline the various treatment options so that resources are available later.
6. Address the root cause of the problem
Often, when people smoke, it’s about dealing with some fundamental problems in their lives, such as stress and anxiety, Galiatsatos said. It is instinctual for them to look at cigarettes when faced with those feelings while they are quitting.
“If you always rely on cigarettes for that coping mechanism and you don’t have a replacement, that’s all we’ll see,” he said.
To counter this challenge, Galyatsatos recommended that people trying to quit smoking go to behavioral counseling. They will be able to better identify why they smoked and work to find healthier ways to handle those emotions.
Why is smoking so addictive anyway?
Tobacco is filled with chemicals such as nicotine, which are chemically fortified and cause their addiction, Galiatsatos said.
Chemically fortified nicotine closely resembles the common neurotransmitter acetylcholine and helps control muscle movement and other brain functions.
“I always tell people that this is the most insidious and addictive molecule known to humans, because it’s not just overdose you,” he is also a volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association. Galiatsatos said.
It has rewired smokers’ brains over the years, “it’s incredibly difficult to break that addiction by the time someone realizes it’s depriving them of their health.”
Never forget, despite the hard work-it is possible to overcome this addiction and enjoy better health.