How do I quit smoking?

Making the choice to quit smoking is the best decision you can make in taking control of your health and fighting cancer.  It’s not always easy, but you can make it easier on yourself if you always keep in mind the importance of what you are doing. Your body needs to be as strong as possible to fight cancer and it will become stronger as soon as you quit.

Here’s a checklist of things you can do to help put the smoking habit behind you:

  • Consider joining a stop-smoking group. Ask if your school has one or contact your local American Lung Association for stop smoking materials.
  • Choose a quit date and stick to it.
  • Find someone you trust to help you through
  • Ditch all of your “smoking stuff” by getting rid of all of the things you associate with smoking and be sure to tell everyone you are doing it.
  • Make a list of reasons of why it’s important for you to quit and keep the list where you can look at it often—up in your room, in your wallet, etc.
  • Drinks lots of water and eat healthy foods. Both of these will make you feel better while you’re kicking the habit.
  • Think about what you will do when you have an urge or craving to smoke ahead of time. Knowing how you will distract yourself will make it easier.
  • Keep in mind that if you slip, you have not failed.

In some cases, smokers benefit from nicotine replacement products to help break their smoking habit. These products continue to give smokers nicotine to meet their nicotine craving. The benefit of nicotine replacement products is the elimination of tars and poisonous gases that cigarettes emit. Because of your cancer, you should never start using one of these products without permission from your oncologist. Some examples of nicotine replacement products include:

  • nicotine chewing gum – an over-the-counter chewing gum that releases small amounts of nicotine to help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
  • nicotine patch – an over-the-counter patch applied to the upper body once a day that releases a steady dosage of nicotine to help reduce the urge to smoke.
  • nicotine inhaler or nasal spray – a prescription nicotine replacement product that releases nicotine to help reduce withdrawal symptoms (requires a physician’s approval before use).

Zyban is a non-nicotine alternative to help people stop smoking. Offered in pill form to smokers who want to quit, Zyban (Bupropion HCI), has been shown to alter mood transmitters in the brain that are linked to addiction. Zyban must be prescribed by a physician and may not be appropriate for everyone. Your onologist can tell you if Zyban is a good fit for you and your condition.

Talk to your doctor and we’ll help you quit and stick to it.

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