Quitting Smoking

With the help of a Tobacco Cessation Program, you can reach your goal of becoming tobacco free for life. Our program is designed to minimize the obstacles in your life which prevent you from reaching your goal. Once you’ve decided to quit using tobacco,  get rid of all tobacco products. Throw away ALL cigarettes, chewing tobacco, ashtrays, matches, lighters, and cigarette cases. Look for materials everywhere you’ve used tobacco (home, car, workplace, etc.). Be sure to clean or remove the ashtray in your car.


Tobacco Additives and Their Effects

The smoke inhaled from a cigarette contains many chemicals and compounds, some of which are: tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, arsenic, ammonia, DDT, bark, paper ammonia, and flavoring agents. During cigarette manufacturing up to 80 different ingredients may be mixed with tobacco.

Tar, a thick substance that clings to the sides of your airways, causes dryness and irritation. It also can cause an increase in cough and mucus production. The use of tobacco could also affect many diseases from periodontal disease to heart disease. There is evidence proving tobacco users are less able to fight off infection, their healing from surgery is slower, and patients are more likely to have more complications.

Nicotine is an addictive drug that causes a physical craving. Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a drug that stimulates the reward center of the brain, and this is what makes people keep using the substance. Nicotine restricts your circulation, which in turn causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Cilia, the tiny hair structures in your airways, which keep
your lungs clean, are paralyzed by nicotine.

Carbon monoxide decreases the ability of your body to carry oxygen efficiently. This along with the effects of nicotine will cause an increase in shortness of breath and decrease in stamina.


Effects of Quitting

Quitting smoking will cause changes in your body. These changes may be unpleasant for a while, but will soon go away. Nicotine clears the body within 72 hours, no matter how long you have smoked. You might be surprised at how fast your health improves when you quit smoking.

The symptoms of quitting can vary from person to person and may include the following: dizziness, chills, upset stomach, lack of concentration, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, headache, sleeplessness, constipation, increase in appetite and coughing.


Aides to Help Quit

Some smoking cessation help aides are available over the counter and some require a doctor’s prescription.

Over the counter items (non-prescription)

  • Nicotine patch: Nicoderm CQ®
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • Nicotine gum

Prescription medications

  • Nicotine patches: Prostep® and Habitrol®
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Zyban®
  • Chantix®

Nicotine patches vary in strength and are often characterized as being a “step down” method. Examples of Nicoderm® patches follows:
1st patch -   21 mg, 4 weeks
2nd patch -  14 mg, 2 weeks
3rd patch -  7 mg, 2 weeks
21 mg is comparable to about a pack of full strength cigarettes.


How to Quit

There are many recommended ways to quit. Some include:

  • Social support
  • Treatment support (coaching)
  • Use of a tobacco support quit line. The Wisconsin Quit Line is free, sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Call 1.800.QUIT.NOW.
  • Community quitting groups or individual assistance
  • Use of FDA approved quitting medications: Zyban® (non-nicotine), Chantix®, nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, nicotine nasal spray, and nicotine inhaler. Medications may be used in combination, with doctor’s approval, if you have been unable to quit using only one. Note: Medications should be used unless the patient is pregnant, under 18, uses 10 or less cigarettes per day, is within two weeks of an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), or has unstable angina.

Some quit methods not supported by research at this time are herbal therapy, acupuncture, and hypnosis.

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