Dr. Noe’s 10 Steps to Optimal Health
Step 4: Don’t Smoke
Most people are well aware of the risks of smoking – lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, gum disease, acid reflux, and many other diseases. Most people are not aware that the risk of these diseases starts dropping fairly quickly after quitting. For example:
|20 minutes||Blood pressure drops|
|8 hours||Carbon monoxide level in blood returns to normal|
|2 weeks to 3 months||Circulation improves. Lung function increases up to 30%|
|1 to 9 months||Coughing and sinus congestion improve|
|1 year||Heart attack risk is cut in half|
|5 years||Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker|
|10 years||Lung cancer risk is one-half of smokers. Risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancer decreases|
|15 years||Risk of heart attack is the same as a nonsmoker|
While many people try to quit “cold turkey,” nicotine is a powerfully addictive substance that can be very difficult to quit in this way. Two techniques that have been shown to improve the odds of success are nicotine replacement therapy and cessation counseling.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) doubles your chances of success. It is provided as a patch, inhaler, nasal spray, or gum. NRT helps because it separates the physical addiction from the smoking habit so that they can be dealt with separately instead of all at once. Once you break the habit of smoking, you then slowly wean off the nicotine to address the physical addiction. NRT can reduce or eliminate the withdrawal symptoms that many people have when they quit smoking. NRT is free to all Vermonters, with or without insurance, when used in conjunction with smoking cessation counseling (see below).
Bupropion is a drug that reduces the nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms. It does not contain any nicotine. Generally it is taken starting 2 weeks before you quit smoking and continuing for at least 7-12 weeks after you stop. There is evidence that combining this drug with NRT can be effective in helping people to stop smoking.
Smoking cessation counseling is offered free to all Vermonters. Group counseling is offered through every hospital in the state. To access this service, call your local hospital. Free, 24 hour, one-on-one quit coaching is also available via the QuitLine at 1-877-Yes-Quit (1-877-937-7848).
Online information, chat rooms, and support are also available to all Vermonters for free at www.quitnet.com.
Remember that it is never too late to try to quit smoking, even if you have attempted several times already. The average smoker makes 6 attempts at quitting before he or she quits for good. Each time you try you learn something new that makes you more likely to succeed the next time.
Naturopathic doctors are physician experts in treating the underlying cause of disease and using natural medicines to help people get and stay well. To see a naturopathic doctor for help in making lifestyle changes or for treating existing medical problems, please make a selection below.
Source: Set Yourself Free, American Cancer Society