When tobacco users try to stop on their own, some are successful and some are not. Nicotine, the drug found in tobacco, is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs. Your body becomes dependent on nicotine. Quitting nicotine dependence is not easy and is as difficult as quitting any other drug dependency. However, there is good news! Thousands become ex-smokers every day. The process of becoming an ex-smoker involves coping with withdrawal symptoms, lifestyle changes, patience and persistence.
A Breath of Fresh Air
You can quit no matter how old you are or how long you have used tobacco. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Pick a quit date and make a plan. Keep a list of why you want to quit and plan ahead for situations that trigger your urges.
- Seek support. Get your family, friends and co-workers to support you during your quitting attempts.
- Accept a little weight gain. Some people may gain a little weight after quitting. Exercise and healthy eating may keep additional pounds off.
- Start exercising. Exercise not only helps with weight gain, it also helps decrease nicotine cravings and helps relieve stress.
- Get medication. Talk with your physician to find the best medicine for you.
- Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let a slip give you an excuse to go back to smoking. Try again!
We work collaboratively with various community organizations to ensure that patients are screened for tobacco use and provided assistance with quitting.
- Good Shepherd Hospital’s “Courage to Quit” Program
This is an individualized private consultation with a tobacco treatment specialist. We discuss steps to quitting tobacco, medication options and we follow-up with a telephone call for further support. We currently have weekend and weekday appointments at Good Shepherd Hospital’s Cardiac Care Center. Cost: $30. To register, call 1.800.3ADVOCATE (1.800.323.8622) and reference code: 3C69
For more information about the “Courage to Quit” program or tobacco cessation, call the Tobacco Line at 1.847.620.7600
- American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking
Created by the American Lung Association, this program is designed to help smokers learn about their habits and to learn the process of quitting through relaxation techniques and behavior modifications. For more information, visit http://www.ffsonline.org/ or call 1.800.LUNG.USA (1.800.548.8252).
- Illinois Tobacco Quitline
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline was created to help you quit smoking. Phone support is provided by registered nurses and smoking cessation specialists trained to help in your efforts. The quitline is FREE and you can call as often and for as long as you need it. For more information, visit www.quityes.org or call 1.866.QUITYES or 1.866.784.8937.
- Lake County Health Department
For information about Tobacco Free Lake County, visit 1.847.377.8090.
- Cook County Health Department
For information about Tobacco Prevention and Control, visit http://www.cookcounty.quitnet.com/ or call 1.866.QUITYES.
- McHenry County Health Department
For more information, visit the web or call 1.815.334.4510.
The Benefits of Quitting Tobacco
- 20 Minutes After Quitting:
Your blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette.
The temperature in your hands and feet returns to normal.
- 12 Hours After Quitting:
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting:
Your circulation improves.
Your lung function increases up to 30%.
- 1 to 9 Months After Quitting:
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decreases.
The cilia in the airways regain normal function in the lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
- 1 Year After Quitting:
Risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
- 5 Years After Quitting:
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
- 10 Years After Quitting:
Lung cancer death rate is about half that of a current smoker.
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidneys and pancreas decreases.
- 15 Years After Quitting:
Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.
Source: American Cancer Society