Tobacco use can lead to tobacco/nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases. Tobacco/nicotine dependence is a condition that often requires repeated treatments, but there are helpful treatments and resources for quitting.
- Most smokers become addicted to nicotine, a drug that is found naturally in tobacco.
- More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug.
- Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
- Quitting smoking is hard and may require several attempts.
- People who stop smoking often start again because of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and weight gain.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious
- Having trouble thinking
- Craving tobacco products
- Feeling hungrier than usual
Health Benefits of Quitting
- Lowered risk for lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD; lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
- Reduced risk for stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
- Reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
- Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
- Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Ways to Quit Smoking
- Help by a doctor
- Individual, group, or telephone counseling
- Behavioral therapies (such as training in problem solving)
- Programs to deliver treatments using mobile phones
- Nicotine replacement products; over-the-counter/prescription nicotine patches; inhalers; gum; lozenges; and more
- Prescription non-nicotine medications: bupropion SR (Zyban®), varenicline tartrate (Chantix®)
- Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone.
When to see your Doctor
Speak with your primary care provider to get help with quitting smoking. Book your appointment online to schedule a visit with a CareMount Medical primary care provider. Ending the habit to smoke can be very challenging. It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to find treatments that help you.