Addiction: Smoking Addiction

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There are many reasons why people want to quit smoking. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and certain eye diseases. It affects your respiratory health, it’s expensive and it smells bad. Quitting smoking can be a huge challenge for people, whether they’ve smoked for one year or 20. Working with your family physician can be important to quitting smoking.

Why Quitting Smoking is So Difficult

Smoking is both a physical and a psychological addiction, and many people use it to cope with stress, depression or anger. People also often associate smoking with another activity. Maybe every morning you smoke a cigarette with your coffee, or on Saturday nights you and your friends have cigarettes with beers. It’s important to identify the situations, activities and feelings that make you want to smoke. Whatever your reasons for quitting smoking, you don’t have to do it alone. While some people’s smoking cessation plan is quitting cold turkey, it doesn’t work for many people. When you remove the nicotine fix, your body begins to experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings.Working with your family physician can be important to quitting smoking.

Smoking Cessation Aids

Try to remember that these nicotine withdrawal symptoms are temporary, and that there are smoking cessation aids to help you, including:

• Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products supied by local pharmacists . These are non-prescription medications that contain nicotine to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Examples include nicotine gum, patches and lozenges. 
• Prescription drugs. These medications help you manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. You may be prescribed the antidepressants bupropion. Bupropion started out in life as an antidepressant and was noticed serendipitously to increase the likelihood of quitting smoking and again, the evidence suggests that this will approximately double your likelihood of success when compared to using nothing. Verenicline is another smoking cessation medication. The verenicline molecule goes into the brain and lands in the same receptor where nicotine from the cigarette would land and essentially fools the bran into believing that it doesn't need to see the nicotine from a cigarette.

Many people who quit smoking gain weight. Smoking is an appetite suppressant, so it’s important to be mindful of your eating habits while you’re quitting smoking. Watch portion sizes and choose healthy snacks. Remember: it's never too late to quit! There are proven health benefits as soon as you stop smoking.

Talk to your family physician if you'd like more information on smoking cessation.

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