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Quitting smoking can be a difficult thing to do. About 70% of people who smoke want to quit smoking and only about 4-7% will successfully quit smoking (cold turkey) without any help or medication. Approximately, 25-33% will be successful and off cigarettes for at least 6 months when using medications to help. Up to 40% of people who smoke and participate in smoking cessation programs successfully quit smoking and stay off cigarettes for at least one year. Success rates may seem low but do not get discouraged, everyone is not always successful on their first try.
It is important to understand that smoking is an addiction caused by the nicotine in cigarettes. It can be as addictive as cocaine and alcohol. Because your body becomes dependent on smoking, your body makes it difficult for you to quit. If you have tried to quit before, and were not successful, please DO NOT GIVE UP! Try again in a few weeks and reflect on the past experience or experiences to help you be successful this time.
If you have not tried nicotine replacement therapy or medications yet, it is definitely something to look into. There are over-the-counter nicotine replacement agents and prescribed medications that can help you quit. Some of the over-the-counter medications are the Nicotine patch, gum or lozenges. Some of the prescribed medications are Zyban, Wellbutrin, Chantix, Nicotine inhaler and Nicotine nasal spray. Please consult with your physician if you are considering trying any of these.
Look for support! Your support system can greatly impact your outcome. People who have a good support system have a higher success rate. Tell your family and friends that you are quitting and ask them to help and support you. Find someone to lean on and call when you feel that you may be giving in to a cigarette. This person should be aware that you are trying to quit and know that you will call him/her when you are feeling weak. Look for support groups close to you. Support groups give you the opportunity to share and learn experiences with others that are going through the same thing as you.
Finally, look for a smoking cessation program close to you. A smoking cessation program will provide you with all the information and support necessary to help you be successful in quitting. It will address topics such as coping skills, medications, nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine dependence, quitting skills, recovery and relapse prevention and stress management.
Provena Mercy Medical Center offers a “Freedom from Smoking” cessation program. Please feel free to call 1-866-PROVENA to obtain information on the next available clinic and register.