Let’s not kid ourselves. If you’ve been smoking for a while (or chewing or dipping- We’re in Alabama after all), quitting can be tough. Really tough! Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man, and getting off the stuff can be a struggle. However, it can be done by anyone, and sometimes just having the right plan and someone to guide you can be all the difference you need to be successful.
First, it’s a good idea to know WHY you should quit. Everyone knows that smoking leads to badness like emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer. But that’s not all it does. Nicotine constricts blood vessels all over the body, raising your blood pressure, which damages your heart, brain, and kidneys. It also causes faster plaque formation in the arteries, again leading to heart disease. And not only do the heart and lungs suffer, but smoking causes your risk of other cancers to skyrocket, as well. Smoking TRIPLES a woman’s risk for cervical cancer! It also damages the skin, aging you prematurely.
Now that we’ve got that ugliness out of the way, what can we do to get folks off nicotine for good? As fortune would have it, lots of research has been done on that very question! It turns out that trying to wean down off cigarettes slowly almost never works. Most smokers have tried it at some point, and what usually happens is they do ok for a while, but then something happens that causes them to bump their smoking back up, and they’re right back where they started. Trying to step down to a vape is just as ineffective. It’s actually much more effective to set a quit date, be done with cigarettes all at once on that date, and use a very deliberate plan to keep you from picking them back up again. Plans can involve medication to help control cravings and mood shifts, nicotine replacements, or a combination of the two.
Here are a few ways a plan like this can look:
Week 2-3: Stop smoking completely, start a nicotine patch, and continue Bupropion.
Week 4: Stop nicotine patches, and continue Bupropion for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Week 2-3: Stop smoking completely, start nicotine patches for maintenance and nicotine gum for cravings.
Week 4: Stop nicotine gum, and continue patches.
Week 5: Stop patches.
Week 2-12: Stop smoking completely, and continue Chantix (can go longer if needed).
All of these can be safe and effective plans for kicking the habit permanently. Another tip I like to give my patients is to have something ready to replace the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking. A lot of times, just having something to hold in your hand or mouth can make quitting much easier. I suggest toothpicks, but I’ve had patients see great success with gum, mints, or even plastic straws!
The bottom line is, if you’re ready to quit, there’s a way that will work for you. At ADPC, we help patients quit all the time, and it’s amazing how much better they feel once they do (not to mention how much more MONEY they keep in their pockets). Give us a call today, and we’ll be thrilled to help you on your path to being nicotine free!
-Kyle Adams, MD
Dr. Adams practices Family Medicine at Auburn Direct Primary Care. He is actively accepting new patients, and we would love to have you join the ADPC family. If you’re ready to get started, click Here to enroll with us now!
We would love to answer any questions you might have about Auburn Direct Primary Care! Please feel free to send us a message, and we will reach out to you soon. We also welcome you to give us a call!
Monday - Thursday: 9am-5pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed
440-A N Dean Road
Auburn, AL 36830