6 Ways to Quit Smoking - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on March 01, 2013

6 Ways to Quit Smoking  

As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

But for some reason, it seems like many of us really struggle with that “try, try again” part. 

When it comes to quitting smoking, the number of success stories is disappointingly low. For those who try to quit smoking cold turkey – without any help of medicine or emotional support – only four to seven percent are able to kick the habit. Yikes. 

But don’t give up hope yet—some studies have also found that among those who combine different approaches to kicking the unhealthy habit, their chances for being successful is significantly greater. 

Since the severity of a person’s smoking habit and their ability to overcome it differs from person to person, it’s important to understand all of the different ways in which you can quit smoking. While nothing is totally fail-proof, a healthy mindset, some early preparation, and a great support group can help you get on your way to overcoming this dangerous habit

Some of the most common ways you can quit smoking: 

  1. Cold-Turkey. Even though 90 percent of smokers quit cold turkey, only ten percent are successful on the first try. Not to say that it’s impossible and shouldn’t be done at all, but relapsing back into any habit is extremely common and often expected during early attempts to quit. Giving up cigarettes without the help of medication or therapy often leaves former smokers with the full effect of withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, irritability, and anxiousness.
  2. Medication. Prescription medicines like Chantix and Zyban have been specifically developed to reduce nicotine cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. Even though they have been found to have a 44 percent success rate after three months, the relapse rate cuts that in half within a year of quitting. Discuss with your doctor if this is the best method for you. 
  3. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Widely recognized in the form of nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges, NRT allows you to get a nicotine fix without having to smoke cigarettes, and then gradually decrease your intake. This is another popular way to stop smoking in a way that’s less harsh than quitting cold turkey and more effective – 25 to 30 percent of people who used a form of NRT were still going strong at six months.
  4. Behavioral Therapy. Through this method, you and a therapist will discuss the best and most effective ways for you to quit smoking. By identifying triggers that may cause you to smoke, together you can find ways to overcome cravings. You’ll also have someone to support you through the process.
  5. Combining Treatments. Since each approach to quitting smoking addresses a physical or emotional need, combining some of these methods can further increase your chances of success. For those who tried both medication and counseling programs, their chances of overcoming smoking doubled. Some proven combination treatments include behavioral therapy & nicotine replacement therapy, or medication & a nicotine patch.
  6. Having a Plan. Whichever you decide, it’s important to create a game plan that you can diligently follow. Once you pick a day to quit, stick with it and tell others you trust so they can both hold you accountable and be there for support. If you choose to get a prescription like Chantix from your doctor, make sure you get everything squared away before your quit day. Setting a date also gives you time to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the actually action of quitting. And if you need extra help, don’t be afraid to ask. 

Above all else, be resilient and persistent in your effort to quit smoking. Acknowledge that there will be days when you try to convince yourself that you can sneak one small puff. But even if you do, you are in control of whether you do it again or not, so you always have the opportunity to try and try again. 

For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System Cancer Services, visit http://ckcancer.crozerkeystone.org. You can also call 1-866-695-HOPE (4673) to request an appointment with a physician who cares for cancer patients. Please visit Crozer-Keystone's Lung Cancer Screening Program, also.

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