Q: How can I quit smoking?
If you’ve decided you’re ready to quit smoking, that’s great! There are many health benefits to quitting, including reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, and improving your lung function and overall health.
You can set yourself up for success by creating a quit plan. Start by choosing a date when you will quit smoking, and put it on your calendar. Let your family and friends know your quit date, so they can support you.
Make a list of your smoking triggers -- situations where you get the urge to smoke. This could include spending time with other people who smoke, or certain activities that are linked to smoking. Make a plan for how you’ll avoid or deal with these situations.
Next, prepare to quit by throwing away ashtrays, lighters, and other items in your environment that are linked to smoking. Consider getting your car cleaned if you think the smell of cigarettes will trigger the urge.
While you’re quitting, it may be tempting to switch to e-cigarettes or vape pens. But these products don’t actually help you quit and just substitute one tobacco addiction for another. Instead, talk with your doctor about medications that can help manage withdrawal symptoms. These include nicotine patches and gum, which can temporarily replace the nicotine you were getting from cigarettes. There are also non-nicotine medications that can relieve physical symptoms. And remember that the cravings will fade over time.
Finally, know that if you are ready to quit, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many programs that can help you with personalized coaching and support. These include the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking, and the Hawaii Quitline (800-QUIT-NOW). Talk with your doctor, or contact a quit-smoking program for information. For additional tips, visit mauihealth.org/quitsmoking.
Glenn Family Medicine, LLC
85 Maui Lani Parkway
Wailuku, , HI 96793