Category Archives: Tips and Support

Stop smoking aids, programs, and support

Are You an Ex-Smoking Nazi?

According to Jellinek Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands abstract smoking dependence fits the criteria given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders system, version IV (DSM IV),1 grading dependence and addiction to a substance (Table 28-1)

Today when I was out and about town I witnessed an individual standing near an ashtray attempting to get a few last puffs off her cigarette. The location of the ashtray was approximately twenty feet away from the door of a local business, and the smoker was in compliance regarding the location of where she could smoke.

Nearby I heard another lady dramatically coughing while turning her nose up in disgust and obviously intolerant of the situation. I overheard her teenage daughter sarcastically retort, “Who are you to speak? You smoked at home for twelve years!”

According to this report most smokers do want to quit smoking. That this is not always an easy task can be attributed to the fact that dependence plays an important role.

Nicotine dependence meets all criteria of addiction. The use is compulsive, it is hard to quit even when there is clear damage, withdrawal symptoms appear when stopping, and there is always a risk of falling back when trying to quit a chronic behavior.

Smoking dependence is not much different than substance addiction.

nazi.jpgI want to tell this lady to drop the smoking Nazi bullshit and get angry with the tobacco industry and those who knowingly support it.

I would also like to tell her to get proactive with local/global legislation and tobacco education because she will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. If tobacco education is free and accessible then generations of nicotine addicts and their children will be able to become reeducated.

Why quit sums it up quite elegantly: Education Destroys Dependency Ignorance.

Jellinek Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands abstract

It’s a Drag: Is it Time to Quit? – Take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

When you’re a smoker, especially in California, which boasts the second-lowest number of adult smokers in the country next to Utah, very few sweet voices greet you throughout your day.

Most people just want to get away from you.

There’s no smoking indoors in public places or outside in parks or playgrounds.

In some cities, like in Oakland, you can’t smoke in ATM lines or at bus stops. And in Belmont, smokers soon will not be allowed to smoke inside their own apartment or condominium.

So maybe there’s no time like the present to quit.

Stubbing That CiggyAnd if you do try, as thousands of Americans will Nov. 15 during the Great American Smokeout, you will hear one friendly voice on the other end of the line at 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887), the California Smokers’ Helpline.

If you’re lucky, you might reach Loraine, a former smoker whose mission is to help others quit. She sweetly asks her clients the tough questions, like how many cigarettes they smoke per day and how smoking makes them feel.

She then walks them through the ways in which they can break the habit, either cold turkey or by using nonsmoking aids.

“We want you to be as comfortable as possible when you do this,” she says, as she coaches a client into a nonsmoking plan. At the end of a 30-minute conversation, Loraine sends her client a certificate and promises to call on the quit date. A week or two after the quit date, Loraine will call again.

There is no magic bullet to quit smoking, no miracle cure that will take away cravings or erase smoking behavior, no matter what new drug comes out. “As Yoda would say, the magic bullet resides within you,” says Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Despite an occasional “Star Wars” quote, Schroeder minces no words when he talks about the grasp the habit has on smokers.

“Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or crack cocaine,” he says. The good news is, the number of smokers in the United States is decreasing. For the first time, there are more former smokers than current smokers out there. Just 12 percent of California adults smoke, compared to about 20 percent of the American population as a whole.

Schroeder has been working with smokers for about 15 years and writes papers on the subject of quitting. He says first, smokers need to want to quit. They then need to find the right time to do it and set a quit date. Next, smokers need to bolster the reasons why they want to quit and figure out the temptation triggers and try to erase them.

Then, he says, smokers should decide which cessation aids are right for them.

There are a variety of such products on the market, from over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids such as nicotine gum and the nicotine skin patch to prescription NRTs and non-nicotine prescription medications such as bupropion and the newer medication, Chantix. (which comes with some pretty severe side effects.)

The bad news is, none of these aids is 100 percent effective. In fact, none is 50 percent effective. Drug company Pfizer’s own studies on Chantix say it’s 44 percent successful, the highest of all. “We think it is the best drug so far,” says Dr. Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who wrote a paper on the subject titled “Interventions to Facilitate Smoking Cessation” and studies multi-ethnic populations and their smoking habits.

Other drugs, including nicotine gum and the patch, have success rates of about 20 percent. About 2.5 to 5 percent of smokers are successful at quitting without any aids.

Drugs act differently on people of different races, depending on the type of cigarette used, such as mentholated versus non-mentholated, Okuyemi says, so it is not easy to predict what will work on whom.

It takes a combination of products and counseling to really help people quit, says Dr. Jodi Prochaska, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

While alternative therapies are sometimes touted as a cure to help people quit, Prochaska says there is no good evidence that acupuncture helps smokers quit. There is some evidence that stop smoking hypnosis can be helpful.

Kaiser Permanente of Northern California’s patients smoke at a rate of about 9 percent, compared to 12 percent of the general California population. This is due, in part, to the nonprofit health care provider’s proactive stance, says Jeanne Reisman, chief of health education for Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center and anti-tobacco champion.

Kaiser physicians identify smokers during visits and encourage them to quit. The company offers smoking cessation classes to its patients and offers discounts on stop-smoking aids. “There are a lot of messages that smokers receive about being asked whether they smoke and about being advised to quit,” Reisman says.

Say you’ve tried to quit smoking before, and it just hasn’t stuck. Reisman and other experts we interviewed say most people fail the first time, but the likelihood of being successful gets higher after several tries.

Quitting smoking, they say, is the best single thing anyone can do for his or her health. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and can harm others who are exposed to the smoke.

The first step is up to you.

Reach Laura Casey at 925-952-2697 or lcasey@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Source: Laura Casey, Contra Costa Times

Pack it in with the Great American Smokeout

Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”

The Great American Smokeout also known as GASO has been going on nationally since 1977, and that’s all there is to it: for just one day, don’t smoke.

If you smoke, the American Cancer Society invites you to quit one more time, if only for 24 hours, during the Great American Smokeout, on November 15.

Is it really worthwhile to quit just for one day?

Edwina “Eddie” Reeves, certified tobacco treatment specialist at CHINS, says, “People who quit during the Great American Smokeout are winners because they learn that they can do without the nicotine. If they quit for one day they prove to themselves that they have the power over the nicotine.”

Twain also said, “It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep.” By following Twain’s simple rule you can easily handle one-third of the 24 hours. Only 16 hours to go! Smokers: a dying breed Smoking rates among U.S. adults hit a high of 46 percent in 1964 and have been declining steadily since then, to 21 percent today. It’s true that smokers tend to die young and drop out of the measurements, but smoking rates have declined primarily because people realize they’ve had enough and decide that they are not going to smoke any more.

GASO is one way they work up to this. New smokers get recruited all the time, mostly children. One-fifth of children are smoking by the time they graduate high school, and 90 percent of adult smokers started before age 18. GASO is not limited to adults, and a GASO event aimed at students will be held in Tularosa.

The Hassle Factor

The Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect in New Mexico on June 15. It generally prohibits smoking in indoor public places and indoor workplaces. It is intended to protect people against second-hand smoke, but it does make life more of a hassle for smokers, who now have to go outside to smoke.

For many smokers this has been the last straw and they have decided to quit. If you are fed up with the hassle of smoking, but haven’t quite decided to quit, GASO is a good chance to try being a nonsmoker for a day.

ribbon.jpgLocally, CHINS offers free tobacco cessation classes and individualized counseling, including free nicotine replacement therapy (patches and gum). CHINS has had a surge of interest in these classes since the new law went into effect. The next class starts Nov. 5 in Tularosa. Contact CHINS at 434-3011 or 491-3595.

The statewide quit line is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You get to talk to a real person who can help you. Help is available in English and in Spanish, and for youth and for adults. The quit line counselors will work with you to develop an individualized plan, and you get unlimited follow-up calls to help you through the process.

Leave the Pack Behind

Mark Twain was a tough old bird, and despite smoking almost continually from age 8, he beat the odds and lived to age 74. Not everyone has his luck. Thinking about quitting? Try going without your cigarettes for 24 hours on Nov. 15. It can be the first step to leaving the pack behind.

Source: Allen Stenger, Alamogordo Daily News

Editor’s note: This column is provided as a service of the Otero County Community Health Council and the Alamogordo Daily News as a way to provide the latest in health and wellness information, services and events. If you would like more information, contact Lee Ann Loney, OCCHC Coordinator, at 700 E. First Street, Suite 720, Alamogordo, NM, 88310, 443-8100, oteromch@netmdc.com.

Quick At Home Lung Test – Easy Way to Check Your Lung Function

This is a series of do at home lung tests you can do to test the strength of your lungs.

They are very simple and just take a couple of minutes.

You may want to pass this information on to a all the smokers you know and see how well they do.

This simple test may get their attention and provide a nudge to help them quit smoking.

The Match Test

Light a match in a draft-free room, let it burn halfway, hold it 6 inches from your mouth, and try to blow it out with your mouth wide open. If you can’t, your lungs may not be in the best condition.

Measure Your Chest

Measure your chest at rest. Men should measure the chest around the nipples; women should measure just under the breasts.

Match TestTake a full breath and measure again while holding the breath. The second measurement should be at least 1.5 inches more than the first one. If your chest expands less than 1.5 inches with a deep breath, your lungs may be weak and you should see your doctor.

Time Your Exhalation

Take a deep breath, then time yourself while you exhale it as fast as possible. Time only the exhalation, not the inhalation. If it takes longer than 3 to 4 seconds to exhale, you may have a lung disorder and should see your doctor.

Source: Weiss RJ, Sharpe-Subak G, and the editors of Consumer Reports Books: The Columbia University School of Public Health 40+ Guide to Good Health. Yonkers, NY, Consumer Reports Books, 1993.

MayoClinic.com Provides Tips for Coping With Nicotine Cravings

Tobacco users are accustomed to having certain levels of nicotine in their bodies. Because of its addictive qualities, when a person quits using tobacco, nicotine cravings are likely.

A new feature on MayoClinic.com provides users with 20 ways to bust nicotine cravings.

Sample tips — which can help users overcome the urge to smoke and ultimately quit smoking for good — include:

  • Move. Do deep knee bends, run in place or climb the stairs. A few minutes of brisk activity may stop a nicotine craving.
  • Replace. Try a stop-smoking product instead of a cigarette. Some types of nicotine replacement therapy — including patches, gum and lozenges — are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription.
  • Call for reinforcements. Team up with a partner who doesn’t smoke for a quick chat or brisk walk.
  • Drink up. Sip a glass of ice water slowly. When the water is gone, suck on the ice cubes.
  • Clean the closet. Discard any clothes yellowed by cigarette smoke or damaged with cigarette burns.

In addition to tips for fighting cravings, the Quit Smoking Center on MayoClinic.com offers helpful information about stop-smoking products and techniques, and how to develop a plan for quitting.

About MayoClinic.com

Launched in 1995 and now visited by more than 10 million users a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,000 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as more in-depth sections on more than 25 common diseases and conditions, healthy living articles, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.com.

nicoti.pngTo obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com is available as a resource for your health stories.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 31, 2007 —

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Smoking Bans Help People Quit, Research Shows

Nationwide, smoking bans are on the rise in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Research shows that bans decrease the overall number of cigarettes people smoke and in some cases, actually result in people quitting.

One reason bans help people quit is simple biology. Inhaling tobacco actually increases the number of receptors in the brain that crave nicotine.

“If you had a smoker compared to a nonsmoker and were able to do imaging study of the brain, the smoker would have billions more of the receptors in areas of the brain that have to do with pleasure and reward,” says Richard Hurt, an internist who heads the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center.

So, removing the triggers that turn on those receptors is a good thing.

“If you’re in a place where smoking is allowed, your outside world is hooked to the receptors in your brain through your senses: your sight, smell, the smoke from someone else’s tobacco smoke or cigarette. That reminds the receptors about the pleasure of smoking to that individual, and that’s what produces the cravings and urges to smoke,” Hurt explains.

Hurt adds that bans help decrease the urge to smoke in another way: They de-normalize it. For example, where smoking is considered the “norm” – as it was in so many countries in Europe for so long – more people smoke. In places where smoking is no longer the “norm” – in California, for example – there are fewer smokers.

Smoking Ban SignResearch shows that nicotine replacement medications – like nicotine gum, patches or inhalers – double a smoker’s chances of quitting. So do counseling and therapy. Add a smoking ban, and Hurt says the chance of successful quitting is even better.

Click to learn more about > smoking bans.

Source: NPR

OJ Helps With Nicotine Withdrawal

If you quit cold turkey – drink plenty of Orange Juice to help your nicotine withdrawl symptoms.

You’ll get over the irritability, anxiety, confusion and trouble concentrating and sleeping that come with nicotine withdrawal a lot faster if you drink a lot of orange juice during this time.

Why, you wonder? Here is what researchers have found.

oj.jpgOJ makes your urine more acidic, which also clears nicotine from your body faster, says Thomas Cooper, D.D.S., a nicotine dependency researcher and professor of oral health sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

“Besides,” adds Dr. Jorenby, “the citrus taste in your mouth makes the thought of having a cigarette pretty disgusting.”

Even though OJ is high in sugar, perhaps drinking some Vitamin C rich orange juice while you are quitting smoking may give you that extra support for the time being.

How Long After You Quit Smoking Does Healing Begin?

Healing from the effects of smoking is possible, but it does take time.

The following is a guideline to give you an idea how your immune system kicks in to clear the effects of smoking from your system and promote healing.

We know it is wise to give your system additional nutritional support when smoking, but don’t forget that after you quit you want to support your body with nutrition to help support physical healing.

Effects of Quitting Smoking – After Eight Hours

  • Carbon monoxide in your body drops.
  • Oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.

Two days After Quitting Smoking

  • Your sense of smell and taste will improve.
  • You will enjoy the taste of your food more.
  • Your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

After Three of Four Days

  • Bronchial tubes relax.
  • Your lung capacity will have increased.
  • Breathing becomes easier.

After Two Weeks of Not Smoking

  • Blood flow improves; nicotine has passed from your body.

Two Weeks to Three Months After Quitting

  • Circulation improves.
  • Walking and running are easier.
  • Lung functioning increases up to 30%.

Six to Nine Months After Stopping Smoking

  • You’ll experience less coughing
  • Less sinus congestion
  • More energy (less tiredness and shortness of breath).

One Year – Happy Anniversary! Mark Your Calendar

  • Your risk of heart disease will be about half of what it would have been if you continued to smoke!

Five Years After Stopping Smoking

  • Your risk of stroke will be substantially reduced and you have a lot to look forward to. You are well into your recovery from the effects of tobacco addiction.
  • Within 5 to 15 years after quitting, it becomes about the same as a non-smokers.

After Ten Years Free From Addiction

  • Your risk of dying from lung cancer will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to smoke.
  • Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas will also decrease.

After Fifteen Years – Congratulations

  • Your risk of dying from a heart attack is equal to a person who never smoked.

Yes, it does take time, but where will you be in fifteen years if you don’t stop smoking now? You may be one of the lucky ones like George Burns, but what are the odds of that?

Changing Your Mind About Smoking

Sometimes changing one’s mind at its core can be experienced in a blazing epiphany in a flash of a moment.

But not often. The type of change to lose the urge to smoke generally consists of acts not monumental, but incremental.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, those reasons can be removed from the subconscious.

Once that’s done, there is no reason left to smoke, therefore no urge.

Picture of the MindThe difference between just stopping smoking and removing the reasons for smoking is the difference between being a smoker living in denial and truly being a non-smoker.

Open your mind to see smoking habits differently, and freedom is a possibility.

The first has urges that are constantly, perpetually, subconsciously denied.

The second never has an urge because they never have a reason creating one.

No matter how much a person says they like to smoke, I’ve never found one who didn’t like not smoking even more.

We cannot change the past, but we can change the way we remember it, and how those memories affect our lives today.

The Five D’s For Quitting Smoking

The five D’s provide a process to help smokers keep from lighting up.

Therefore, when the urge to smoke strikes remember the 5 D’s.

You could even put a post-it note with these queues at places you usually go to fulfill your nicotine habit.

By alerting your conscious mind you will support building new subconscious patterns to weaken your tobacco dependency and lay a foundation for smoking cessation.

The 5 D’s for Quitting Smoking

  1. DELAY for three to five minutes and the urge will pass.
  2. DRINK WATER to fight off cravings.
  3. DO SOMETHING ELSE to fight off cravings.
  4. DEEP BREATHE as it will relax you. Close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths.
  5. DISCUSS your thoughts and feelings with someone close to you or a support group.