You need to quit smoking. You've tried to quit. You're GOING to quit. As soon as you finish painting the house. Or after the holidays. Or when you decide which of the various aids for kicking the habit will work best for you. (Because you know you're going to need all the help you can get. Cold turkey just won't do it.) Should it be pills? The patch? Nicotine gum? An inhaler that releases nicotine through a puff of mist?
Bridgeport Hospital can't help with painting the house, or getting you through the holidays, but we can help you decide which smoking cessation aid is most likely to help you ease off — quit "warm chicken."
Which of these smokers is you?
The Constant Smoker
Do you smoke constantly throughout the day? The nicotine-replacement patch might be the best way to bolster your willpower. You apply it to your skin in an inconspicuous place such as your shoulder, and it delivers a small but constant supply of nicotine, day-long. This can prevent the nervousness, headache, restlessness, and insomnia caused by nicotine withdrawal. Some versions offer a "step-down" program that lets you gradually decrease the amount of nicotine you receive, until your body is ready to make the complete break from tobacco addiction.
The Coffee-Break Smoker
Do you do most of your smoking at specific times during the day? During coffee breaks or after meals, perhaps? Then nicotine gum or an inhaler might be your best support. Both allow you to absorb nicotine through the mucous membranes of your mouth. You can chew a piece of gum or take a dose from your inhaler just before your break or right after a meal, to get a small boost of nicotine. This can prevent withdrawal symptoms and help you make it through the break without a cigarette. If the longing creeps up on you during the day, you can take another piece of gum, or another puff from your inhaler.
Note that the patch, gum, and inhaler should not be used together since they will supply more nicotine than is desired.
The Uncontrollable Smoker
Do you really, really have trouble controlling your need for a smoke? …reach for a cigarette before you're out of bed in the morning? …often find yourself lighting the next cigarette from the end of the last one? You may be able to break the chain of dependency with a pill containing the medication bupropion. It helps to curb that desire for nicotine, making it easier to keep from giving in to your craving. Because it is not a nicotine product, bupropion can be used in combination with the patch, gum, or inhaler.
An important note: Some of these stop-smoking aids are sold by prescription only, so you'll need to see a physician first.
Any of these methods to help yourself kick the habit will be more effective if you also participate in a smoking cessation support program. It can be very helpful to get useful hints, moral support, and encouragement from others who are going through the same things you're experiencing.
Bridgeport Hospital offers QuitSmart, a smoking cessation program proven to help smokers overcome their physical addiction to nicotine by easing off gradually — "warm chicken." For information on days, times, and fees, call 203-384-4444. Out-of-area, call 888-357-2396.
For a referral to a physician, go to http://www.bridgeporthospital.org/findphy or call Bridgeport Hospital Services Referral at 888-357-2396.