- Each day in the United States, approximately half a million Americans die due to smoking (more than HIV, drug and alcohol use, motor vehicle and firearm incidents combined).
- Tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the U.S.
- Second-hand smoke exposure caused almost 41,000 deaths among adults who did not smoke and 400 infants last year.
- Beneficial health changes begin to occur as soon as 20 minutes after quitting.
- Smokers who meet with a health care provider and create a quitting plan, increase their chances of quitting by 84%.
Why should you quit smoking?
- For your health. People who quit smoking decrease their chances of having cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, and many other serious health conditions.
- For your loved ones. By quitting and reducing chance of diseases, you could potentially increase your lifespan and have more time to spend with your friends and family. Not only will you set a great example for your children, but you will also protect them from second hand smoke.
- For your lifestyle. You will have more money to spend and more personal time for your friends or your hobbies (without wondering when you’ll be able to smoke next). Your food will also taste better, and your skin will look younger.
What should you do when you’re ready to quit?
- Tell your family and friends. They can check in on you and provide a good support system.
- Tell your doctor or pharmacist. They can talk with you about different therapy options to help you manage cravings and withdrawal.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are multiple options for free counseling and support available.
What treatment options are available without a prescription?
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) agents can help relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms when quitting. Although some agents require a prescription from your doctor, others (listed below) can be bought over the counter at the pharmacy as long as you’re over the age of 18. These agents are NOT recommended during pregnancy. Make sure to speak with a doctor/pharmacist when starting one of these agents so they can assist you in choosing the correct starting dose.
- Nicotine Patch (NicoDerm CQ): One patch is applied daily and worn for 16-24 hours. You can also use in combination with nicotine gum/lozenge for breakthrough cravings. The patch can cause nightmares. If you experience this side effect, wearing it for only 16 hours a day (taking it off before bedtime) can help.
- Nicotine Lozenge (Nicorette): Allow one piece to dissolve in your month every 1-2 hours.
- Nicotine Gum (Nicorette): Chew one piece of gum every 1-2 hours. Gum must be “Chewed and Parked” meaning you slowly chew one piece until it tastes peppery, then park it between your cheek and gum.
- *For gum or lozenges to be effective, you must use at least 9 pieces a day minimum and you should not drink acidic beverages (soda, coffee, juice) 15 minutes before and after use.
*Did you know? A combination of counseling/support and medication is the most effective quitting method!*
What are some counseling options?
- 1-800-QUIT-NOW telephone hotline
- My QuitLine free app for iPhone