By Denise Franer, RNDecember 30, 2016
Many smokers and smokeless tobacco users have tried to quit before with either brief success or no success at all. Despite this, the new year is a good time to try and quit again. There are several reasons why tobacco users may not have been able to quit in the past. Some have not used an FDA approved medication to help them quit or they may have used the medication incorrectly. Common ways that tobacco users misuse the medication include not using the right medication, the right dose of medication, or not using it for a long enough period of time. Tobacco users may not have understood that they need a quit plan to be successful. Medication will help minimize nicotine withdrawal symptoms but a quit plan is needed to help address the mental and emotional withdrawal from tobacco. A quit plan is crucial for dealing with cravings or urges to use tobacco products.
Still other tobacco users may underestimate the power of nicotine addiction and they relapse after a period of tobacco abstinence. Most tobacco users cannot have just one cigarette. Nicotine changes the chemical balance in the brain and this can happen after only a few cigarettes. A tobacco treatment specialist can offer tips on how to prevent relapsing.
Tobacco users who are middle aged and older often think it is too late to quit and that the health damage is done and irreversible. It’s never too late to give up tobacco. Just twenty minutes after stopping tobacco use, the heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours have quitting, the carbon monoxide level in the blood returns to normal. Two weeks to three months after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases. The risk of heart attack drops dramatically one year after quitting. Quitting tobacco use at any age can reduce the chance of getting or dying from cancer.
Tobacco users may believe some of the common myths about smoking. Light or low tar cigarettes sound safer but they aren’t and these misleading labels on cigarettes are no longer allowed. Light smokers may believe that they are less likely to have health problems but even smoking a few cigarettes a week can lead to a heart attack. Cutting back is not enough to protect from health problems. Filters do not protect against health damage. Filters make the smoke particles smaller and the nicotine is more easily absorbed. This increases addiction.
Tobacco users who are get regular exercise or have other healthy habits may have the false belief that they are negating the impact of smoking by engaging in other healthy behaviors. The detrimental effects of smoking are not offset by other healthy behaviors: the damage still occurs.
Most tobacco users need multiple quit attempts to finally give up tobacco use once and for all. Being a non- tobacco user offers better health, more money, more time to enjoy other pursuits and freedom from an addicting substance. The new year is a good time to quit tobacco again.
For more information about quitting tobacco, contact the Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Clermont County Public Health at (513) 735-8400.
Denise Franer is a Registered Nurse and a certified Tobacco Treatment SpecialistFor more information about quitting tobacco, call 513-735-8400Tobacco cessation counseling sessionsJanuary 17, 201710:30-11:30 a.m. Clermont County Engineer's Office2381 Clermont Center DriveBatavia, OH 45103RSVP RequiredCall 513-735-8400 to registerJanuary 17, 20171:00-2:00 p.m.Clermont County Administration Building101 E. Main St.Batavia, OH 45103RSVP RequiredCall 513-735-8400 to register
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2275 Bauer RoadSuite 300Batavia, Ohio 45103