Why It’s So Difficult To Quit
A health warning is on every tobacco product sold, but there are still 480,000 Americans that die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. It’s the #1 preventable death, so why do so many people keep up with this deadly habit? Because, despite the known risks, quitting can be extremely hard.
Tobacco products contain nicotine, an addictive chemical stimulant that increases the release of neurotransmitters to the brain. One of those neurotransmitters, dopamine, is released and causes feelings of pleasure and happiness. The more a person consumes tobacco, the more they need to feel those positive effects.
To quit successfully, you need to know the facts and how to get the right help.
Serious Health Effects
It is widely known that a habit of using tobacco can lead to lung cancer. In fact, smoking contributes to about 1.2 million deaths per year and is the most common cause of lung cancer. But adverse health effects from tobacco can affect almost every part of the body, from your heart to your eyes.
Smoking can lead to several conditions that hurt lung function, which leads to a lower quality of life. Beyond lung cancer, tobacco use can cause popcorn lung, pneumonia, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and asthma. It also puts you at a higher risk of Covid-19.
Cancers linked to tobacco use make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed. There are at least 12 types of cancer-related to tobacco use, including mouth and throat, voice box, esophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, and a type of leukemia. See what the CDC has to say about cancer and tobacco use.
According to reproductivefacts.org, research has shown that it is harder for a smoking couple to conceive than for a nonsmoking couple. Smoking hurts fertility by negatively affecting hormone production, hurting the egg’s ability to reach the uterus, damaging sperm health, and damaging the reproductive environment.
Chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, vision loss, gum disease, and osteoporosis are linked to tobacco use.
The good news? No matter your age, once you stop using tobacco, your body starts healing immediately. Your blood pressure starts to normalize, and there is an improvement in overall blood flow. By quitting, you can instantly reduce your chances of premature death.
Developing An Effective Quitting Strategy
Quitting an addictive habit isn’t easy. It’s essential to make a plan and find the best resources for you to have the best chance of quitting.
Tips For Quitting:
Get help from professionals. Getting help from smoking cessation specialists can help you recognize triggers, equip you with relapse prevention skills, give you coping strategies, and boost motivation. Make sure you check in with your primary care provider for an annual physical so you can track your progress. Schedule a physical here.
Pick the right time to quit. The sooner you quit, the better you set yourself up to succeed. Avoid trying to quit in the middle of stressful times such as holidays, a breakup, or mourning periods.
Create a positive environment. Quitting is a significant step forward and can be a great time to wipe the slate clean in other areas. Try cleaning your house, including linens that trap the smoke smell. Stock your fridge with healthy items and avoid drinking alcohol. And don’t forget to toss those ashtrays!
Find a new habit. Tobacco is a big habit to ditch, so give yourself a new one to focus on. If you miss the physical sensation of cigarettes, try holding a straw or buy some flavored toothpicks. If you miss being outside, try taking a walk when you get the urge to smoke.
We want to help our patients successfully stop tobacco dependence by giving them the proper education and the best guidance possible. If you are thinking about quitting or have already quit and want medical support, please schedule an appointment with our primary care team.
Primary care appointments are available at all three of our Nashville clinics. Book an appointment in West Nashville, Downtown or Hendersonville today.