Advice for Quitting Smoking
Since this coming Thursday is the Great American Smokeout, today I’d like to pass along some information and tips on trying to quit. Quitting smoking is generally a very difficult task, but studies show that the main thing somebody can do to increase their chances of success is to not go it alone. Often times somebody else close to you, if also wanting to quit smoking, is a helpful ally in quitting. Unfortunately, often times a person either doesn’t know many or any other smokers and none who want to try giving it up. A helpful resource instead is calling 1-800- QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). This will connect you to the state’s quit line. The call is toll free and the counseling is free as well. In addition to their own coaches and counselors, this Quiteline can also provide information about clinics in your area as well as other services helpful for quitting. For more information, the national website is smokefree.gov
What is currently considered the best option for quitting, from a medical perspective, is a combination of counseling and medications to reduce cravings. Such medications include prescription medications as well as prescribed and non-prescription nicotine patches. Another option regarding nicotine replacement is e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, they aren’t currently well studied. Personally, however, my future mother-in-law and future auntie-in-law have had considerable success with e-cigarettes and are down to less than half as many regular cigarettes as before. However, even these nicotine replacements are essentially medications and so can carry some side-effects.
Another alternative to medications to quit smoking which many people will swear by is acupuncture. One of our own chiropractors, Dr. Olsen, has been working with such patients for a good while and would be more than happy to provide acupuncture to those wishing to quit.
Finally, while it’s unfortunate that even with both counseling and medication the successful rates for quitting aren’t great, the important thing is to not quit quitting. Many people who try quitting for the Great American Smokeout will probably try quitting again once the New Year rolls around. Each attempt provides valuable experience regarding what does and does not work for you as well as new information in general. Just remember that even though the rate of successfully quitting smoking even with counseling and medication is only about one in four, that’s based on attempts, not individuals. So at that rate, one only has to try quitting a mere four times on average to quite for good.
--Joshua J. J. Jorde D.C.