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Join the new Quit Smoking Now List
Get tips, hints and mutual support in your your effort to quit
from others who are trying to "Kick the Habit"

Why is it especially important for COPDers? According to the American Lung Association (ALA), after 1 to 9 months of smoking cessation, your coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.  It is also one of the most important single steps you can take to slow down the progression of the disease. 
"Every patient with COPD who breaks the smoking habit benefits, regardless of how severe his or her COPD may be.  When smokers with COPD do give up cigarettes, they slow down the process of deterioration in lung function, they improve current lung function, they decrease the symptoms associated with COPD and they reduce the number of exacerbations."

Dr. Dick D. Briggs, Jr. 
Emeritus Eminent Scholar Chair in Pulmonary Diseases
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Commit Lozenge
Is New Product
To Quit Smoking

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the CommitTM Lozenge - the first and only nicotine lozenge - for over-the- counter sale. The Commit Lozenge helps control cravings by delivering craving-fighting medicine fast. 
See Details

Quitting is a long journey. It is a multi-stage process and the better prepared you are for each stage, the more likely you are to reach your goal of being a non-smoker. Or one might more accurately say a “recovering smoker." 

Understand both the physical and psychological parts of the addiction. Go to our library to read everything you can about quitting. When you are trying quit, you will be testing yourself and your will. You need the answers.

Should you quit cold turkey or use a quitting aid?  According to the U.S. Surgeon General, medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five medications as nicotine replacement therapies to help you quit smoking:

  • Bupropion SR - Available by prescription, this is Wellbutrin or Zyban.

  • Nicotine gum - Available over-the-counter.

  • Nicotine inhaler - Available by prescription.

  • Nicotine nasal spray - Available by prescription.

  • Nicotine patch - Available by prescription and over-the-counter.

  • Commit Lozenge - See Details

Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read the information on the package. All of these medications will more or less double your chances of quitting and quitting for good.

Everyone who is trying to quit may benefit from using a medication. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking any medications

The three stages of a quit

Stage I: Planning and preparation for the journey is essential.

A. Setting a quit date.

The pre-quit phase is an important process. It’s best to take time to prepare both physically and psychologically. 

On the physical level, you can start with having mini-quits. Postponing cigarettes for an hour or so at a time and studying your own reactions. Which cigarettes during the day are the easiest to eliminate? You might try eliminating one cigarette a day until quit day. Or postpone smoking a cigarette for at least 10 minutes every time you reach for one. Or try keeping your cigarettes in another room. That will eliminate a lot of those smoked just because they’re there.

Put a lot of thought into your quit date. Be sure to give yourself time to prepare. Some people think it’s helpful to start their quit at the beginning of a long weekend. Others like to start their quit on a special date, such as a birthday or anniversary.

B. Recognize addiction and make commitment to self.

On the psychological level, if you think you can smoke just one or smoke just now and again, you’re not acknowledging an addiction. You’re not destined for success.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) states: “Yes, nicotine is addictive. Most smokers use tobacco regularly because they are addicted to nicotine. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use even in the face of negative health consequences, and tobacco use certainly fits the description. It is well documented that most smokers identify tobacco as harmful and express a desire to reduce or stop using it and nearly 35 million of them make a serious attempt to quit each year. Unfortunately, less than 7 percent of those who try to quit on their own achieve more than one year of abstinence; most relapse within a few days of attempting to quit."

You can only quit for yourself. As much as you might want to quit smoking to allay the concerns of your family and friends about your health, you can’t sustain motivation from that desire. Your commitment must come from deep within yourself. It is vital to search for the self-love this commitment involves. That’s an integral part of planning your quit. Looking for this self-motivation.

Be positive in all your planning. Avoid the negative thoughts about how hard it will be. When you’re quitting for yourself, you really understand that you are not “giving up” anything. You are giving yourself a gift. You are walking away from an abusive relationship. If any person was as abusive to you as cigarettes are, you would surely walk away.

Many people who are considering quitting are very concerned about gaining weight. If you are concerned about weight gain, keep these points in mind: Quitting doesn't mean you'll automatically gain weight. When people gain it's because they often eat more once they quit because food tastes better.

According to the American Cancer Society, the benefits of giving up cigarettes far outweigh the drawbacks of adding a few pounds. You'd have to gain a very large amount of weight to offset the many substantial health benefits that a normal smoker gains by quitting. Watch what you eat, and if you are concerned about gaining weight, learn better eating habits and check out our Exercise Section.

C. Begin your own journal.

1. Make a list of reasons you want to quit

  • Health

  • Cost 

  • Don’t want to stink anymore 

  • Be more socially acceptable in today’s non-smoking society.

  • Don’t want cigarettes in control of your life.

Just start writing. You probably have many reasons, 
or you wouldn’t be here.

2. Make a list of benefits you feel you get from smoking? 

Think them through. Is there another way to get those benefits? Physical exercise and other anti-stress programs can help.

3. Make a list of anticipated benefits you will receive from not smoking.

  • Loss of “smoker’s cough." Even if you have COPD, you should gain 
    air movement in your lungs, which will reduce coughing.

  • No more feeling self-conscious when you kiss or hug someone.

  • No more “yucky yellow film” in car windows.

  • Save money.

This can include some unexpected benefits if you examine the possibilities.

4. During this planning stage, every time you smoke a cigarette, make a note of the time, what you were doing, how you felt. You can wrap an index card around your pack of cigarettes and hold it with a rubber band to make this easier. This record will give you an outline of what your own personal “smoking triggers” are. See: The ABC’s of smoking Triggers.

5. Begin a modest exercise program. Visit our Exercise Section or check the Library area for ideas.

6. If you plan to use Zyban or Wellbutrin, start taking a week to 10 days before your quit date.

7. The day before your quit date, hide all the ashtrays and lighters. Remove ashtray from car. Stock up on hard candy, long licorice ropes are a favorite for some, dietetic candy, gum, pretzels - any of the substitutes you think will work for you. Use an odor eliminator in car and house to eliminate cigarette smell. Air out your house. It’s such an inspiration when you start smelling nice fresh smells.

Stage II: The quit date arrives!

Understand that withdrawal symptoms are temporary. They usually last only 1-2 weeks. Plan to stay very busy or to sleep a lot. That’s an individual preference. When you go out, it does help to go to places that do no allow smoking. Start a savings plan with money saved from not buying cigarettes and use it to reward yourself on your weekly or monthly anniversaries.

1. Dealing with the cravings and the need for “hand-to-mouth” action.

Use all the substitutions that you think will work for you. 

  • Chewing on coffee stirrers is a wonderful hand-to-mouth, non-caloric substitute.

  • Instead of smoking after meals, brush your teeth or go for a walk.

  • Have an index card with your top 10 reason for quitting. Read when needed.

  • Take showers often. Do everything you can to make your world smell nice and clean.

  • Exercise.

  • Do what you can to reduce stress in your life.

  • Drink Water. Lots and lots of water unless advised otherwise by a health professional.

  • Get up and walk around.

  • Practice relaxing, stretching, yawning.

  • At times, breathing like you are smoking a cigarette will fulfill the need.

  • Deep breathing exercises

2. Catchwords and Phrases

Use these to help create a stronger mental outlook

  • “One hour at a time.” 

  • “A craving only lasts 10 minutes at the most.” 

  • “I’m one cigarette away from a pack a day.” (or 2 or 3)

  • “I am worth this and I can beat this thing.” 

  • “I am not giving up anything. I’m giving myself a gift.” 

  • “I don’t have to think about quitting forever just today.”

Make up your own to add to the list. Let us know if you’d like to share a catch phrase that has helped you.

3. Try to avoid smokers and smoking situations for at least the first two weeks.

During this two weeks, family and friends are usually a bit understanding if you feel tense and moody.

4. Have your teeth cleaned. Resolve to never have tobacco-stained teeth again.

Most relapses occur in the first week after quitting, when withdrawal symptoms are strongest and your body is still dependent on nicotine. Also situational triggers are stronger. Those stressful events that occur unexpectedly are the downfall for many. These are the times when people reach for cigarettes automatically because they associate smoking with relaxing. This is the kind of situation that's hard to prepare yourself for until it happens, so it's especially important to recognize it if it does happen. Remember that smoking is a habit, but a habit you can break.

Stage III: After the first two weeks.

Once you’ve survived those first two weeks, it will seem that those around you are all used to the idea you’ve quit. They’ve stopped their congratulations and think it’s time for you to get back to normal. But quitting is not merely a two-week withdrawal from nicotine. If it just lasted two weeks, you probably wouldn’t be here. Nicotine addiction is the most difficult addiction to overcome. The temptation will be there for a long time to come. 

After about two weeks, our family and friends don’t want to hear about it any more. Life must go on and you’re not expected to talk about it all the time. So now you have lost your main quit support. And that’s why we’re here.

Learning how to deal with our emotions without cigarettes can be quite difficult. The loss of “the Nicotine Reward" is real. The NIDA states: “Recent research has shown in fine detail how nicotine acts on the brain to produce a number of behavioral effects. Of primary importance to its addictive nature are findings that nicotine activates the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure, the so-called reward pathways.” 

It seems when a heavy smoker quits smoking that person has to give their brain time to regain normal levels of dopamine without the stimulus of nicotine. Zyban or Wellbutrin are quite effective at helping with this problem.

For these reasons, a 24-hour-a-day,
7-day-a-week support system can be invaluable to quitters.

That’s why we are here.
We will provide you with support both in our forums and chat rooms.

To go to the Quit Smoking Now Forum Message Board
Click Here

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse 


Last modified: February 27, 2013

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