Medications are not the only way to get someone to stop smoking. In fact, these treatments are not recommended for the majority of people who are still smoking.
There are two main reasons for this. The first is that smoking cigarettes is an addictive behavior. The second is that the brainstem is where the nicotine is stored. The brainstem is the part of the brain that controls the body’s breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
This means that if you stop smoking and smoke, the effects of your nicotine withdrawal will be more severe and last longer than with a drug.
Other treatments for smoking cessation
If you don’t want to quit smoking with medication, there are other ways to help you quit.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that teaches you how to think about your thoughts and feelings so you can change them.
It helps you:
- Recognize your smoking addiction
- Find out how to avoid cravings and triggers
- Learn how to manage stress and improve your mood
CBT can be done in a therapist’s office or at home.
There are also nicotine replacement products and medications that can help you stop smoking. You can discuss these options with your healthcare provider.
What are the risks of smoking cessation?
Smoking increases your risk of developing health problems, including:
- Lung cancer
- Heart disease
- Lung infections
- Heart attack
- Sleep apnea
- Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder
Smoking also increases your risk of developing respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Smoking also has a negative effect on your health and your life expectancy.
People who continue to smoke increase their risk of:
- Death from lung disease, heart disease, stroke, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Death from cancer
Smoking also increases your risk of other health problems, including:
- Lower respiratory infections
- Heart attacks
Smoking cessation is not a quick fix, and you will need to do it over a period of time. You may need to try different methods before you find what works for you.
A lot of people who quit smoking relapse. Relapse is when you begin smoking again. It’s important to take care of yourself to stay smoke-free.
Here are five signs that you may be having a relapse.
1. Nicotine cravings
You may notice you can’t wait to smoke after you’ve quit. You may think you need a cigarette to feel better.
If you are having a nicotine cravings, try to avoid these triggers:
- When you’re anxious or angry
- When you’re stressed
- When you’re bored
- When you have a lot of free time
- When you’re trying to fall asleep
- When you’re trying to get something done
- When you’re on a diet
2. Increased anxiety and depression
When you’re smoke-free, you may worry? Are you unable to sleep because of the anxiety and depression?
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, check in with your healthcare provider or a mental health professional.
3. Food cravings
After you quit smoking, you may crave certain foods, such as:
- Ice cream
Food cravings can be a sign that you may be eating too much. Talk to your healthcare provider about your cravings.
4. Need for a cigarette
After you’ve quit smoking, you may need a cigarette to help you cope with stress or to feel better. If you still need a cigarette, you may need to use it to relieve some of the symptoms of depression or anxiety.
5. Changes in your breathing
After you quit smoking, you may notice that you need to use your lungs more. You might be:
- Getting out of breath when you walk
- Getting out of breath when you’re exercising
- Breathing faster when you’re talking
If you’re having trouble getting enough air, talk to your healthcare provider.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your smoking cessation options
If you’re ready to quit smoking, you may be eligible to get help from a smoking cessation provider. These professionals may help you quit smoking for good.
These smoking cessation providers include:
- A physician who specializes in helping people quit smoking
- A nurse practitioner
- A physician assistant
- A mental health counselor
- A pharmacologic counselor
You can get help from these healthcare providers if you:
- Want to quit smoking for good
- Are ready to make a decision about quitting
- Want to quit but aren’t sure where to start
You can also ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a smoking cessation program or a support group.
Where to get help?
You can find a smoking cessation program near you. Here are some ways to start:
- Call your family doctor’s office. Most doctors’ offices have smoking cessation programs.
- Ask your pharmacist about a list of programs.
- Ask your friends and family for recommendations.
- Contact your local community health center.
If you don’t know who to call, ask your primary care doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to refer you to a smoking cessation program.
Most hospitals also offer free or low-cost smoking cessation programs.
If you’re interested in finding a smoking cessation program, find one near you.
If you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider for help finding a smoking cessation program.
If you’re interested in quitting smoking, but you’re not sure how to do it, download the free Smokefree.gov app or call 1800QUIT-NOW.
The American Lung Association can also help you quit smoking.
The bottom line
Smoking is a health risk. It increases your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
Quitting smoking is a good thing. It’s the best way to slow the progression of these health problems and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Images by Freepik
Generated by AI