Sponsor Content

Three Ways to Quit Smoking Now (Hint: It’s Not with an E-cig)

It’s no secret that quitting smoking will help you on your way to better health. This is only more significant in the case of lung cancer patients. Smokers who need surgery are less likely to have post-op complications like pneumonia if they quit smoking. They will also respond better to chemotherapy. Quitting smoking is difficult, but these three ways to quit smoking will help make it possible.

Method #1: Nicotine Replacement Therapy

What is it? The nicotine in cigarettes is what is responsible for all the nasty withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) gives you the nicotine without any of the tar or other harmful chemicals in cigarettes. It can come in the form of gum, patches, lozenges, sprays, or inhalers. Many studies show it nearly doubles the chances of quitting successfully.

How does it Work? NRT helps cravings and withdrawal symptoms. To get the most out of this method, it is recommended that you combine it with another method like individual, group, or telephone counseling or smoking cessation classes.

Method #2: Telephone Counseling

What is it? There are many free counseling services that are available over the phone. Telephone counseling is a great way for people who have busy schedules to get help quitting. People who use this type of counseling are twice as likely to quit as people who do not. Some examples of quit lines are 1-800-QUIT NOW (New Jersey) and 1-877-44U-QUIT. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 to find phone counseling in your area through the American Cancer Society. (please make sure you call the numbers to make sure they are still in service.  Thanks.

How does it Work? Telephone counseling can be used in combination with NRT or other quit therapies. Most telephone services provide callers with specialists who will help them come up with a quit plan specific to their smoking habits.

Method #3: Prescription Medication

What is it? There are a variety of different prescription medications that can be used to help smokers quit, some that can be used in combination with NRT. Smokers seeking this method must talk to their doctors, as all medications require a prescription.

How does it Work? Different medicines work differently. The most popular ones treat withdrawal symptoms by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain or as extended release anti-depressants.

A Word on Electronic Cigarettes

Many smokers turn to electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or e-cigs, as a way to quit smoking because they contain nicotine and not tobacco. However, e-cigarettes may not be as healthy or effective as we are led to believe.

“The Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependency (AATUD) reports there’s no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are safe or that they help smokers reduce or eliminate their consumption of tobacco,” said Patricia Anasiewicz, nursing program coordinator with Community Health Services at Abington Health. “ In reality, many consumers are not able to quit and sometimes discover they are now using both e-cigarettes, which can be quite expensive, as well as continuing to smoke.”

In addition, researchers who recently published a study in the journal “Cancer” concluded that e-cigarette users were actually more dependent on nicotine than regular smokers, and that e-cigarette users tried to quit more times than regular smokers did. Similarly, many people view smoking hookahs as a safer form of smoking, but using hookahs can also lead to addiction.

“The amount of nicotine is definitely less in hookah, but you must consider the quantity smoked over an hour,” said Dr. Rajesh Patel, an Abington Hospital pulmonary physician.

Abington Health is committed to helping smokers quit. Learn more about their 6-week Smoking Cessation Program here.

For information about lung cancer treatments, tune in to Abington Health’s Health Chat, Screening for Lung Cancer and Options for Treatment, with thoratic surgeon Colleen B. Gaughan, MD and medical oncologist Mark L. Sundermeyer, MD. The chat is on Wednesday, January 21 from 6-7 p.m. Learn more here.