Hands breaking a cigarette

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Quitter?

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2019 by UVM Health Network - CVMC

With Troy King, RN, University of Vermont Health Network
Alice Hyde Medical Center

Every year thousands of Americans make the decision to cut back on their smoking or – even better – quit smoking entirely.

Today is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, when we celebrate the people who have put in the time, effort and shown the willpower that it takes to be a quitter. Between 1965 and 2017, the number of adult Americans who smoke has decreased from 45 percent to 14 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s tremendous progress, but we’ve still got work left to do connecting people with the resources to help overcome their dependence on tobacco products.

At Central Vermont Medical Center we’re proud to offer free tobacco cessation services to both adult and adolescent patients.

Whether you’re ready to quit using tobacco products entirely, or want to cut down on your use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or vaping products, we can help you achieve your goals.

Making the decision to quit smoking

Deciding to quit smoking is a decision only you can make. But there are hundreds of reasons why you should put away your tobacco products for good.

For instance, if you’re a smoker, did you know:

  • Cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which have been proven to cause cancer
  • Each cigarette contains about 2mg of Nicotine
  • Between 80 – 90% of all lung cancers are caused by cigarettes
  • On average, non-smokers live 10 years longer than smokers

If you’re not a smoker, but us other forms of tobacco, you’re also exposing yourself to harmful chemicals and other risk factors:

  • Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals
  • A tin of chew contains the nicotine equivalent of about 4 packs of cigarettes
  • Smokeless tobacco users are 37-times more likely to develop pre-cancerous mouth sores than non-tobacco users

More information on the health impacts of smoking or using smokeless tobacco products is available here and here.

Committing to Quitting

Kicking an addition to tobacco – studies have shown this dependence is both physical and mental – it is difficult, there’s no denying it. But it’s been done by millions of Americans. Whether this is your first attempt, or you’re ready to re-commit to quitting, we can make the process easier by giving you tools and support.

Our program’s strength is its focus on the individual. We work one-on-one with you to develop a custom strategy that fits into your lifestyle and the support system available to you.

Those strategies may include techniques to help you break routines where smoking plays a central role, finding ways to distract yourself or fill the time you usually spend using tobacco products with other activities, determining whether medication-assisted treatment is right for you; and connecting you with follow-up services that can help you work through your psychological dependence on tobacco products.

One of the most important things you can do to prime yourself for success is remember that, no matter how long you’ve been a smoker, it’s just a number that has no impact on whether or not you continue to smoke.

Understanding Your Habit

One of the most powerful tools we help connect people with is understanding why they smoke in the first place. Yes, physical addiction is a real barrier smokers must overcome, but addiction is an effect, not smoking’s root cause.

In fact, most smokers began using tobacco products in response to a negative emotion – stress, nervousness, anxiety, etc. This is why nicotine replacement therapy (that is, nicotine gum, patches or other substitutes for smoking) doesn’t always work. Your brain not only cares about the nicotine you’re ingesting, it cares about the act of smoking too – that’s the mental dependence on smoking which frustrates many who want to quit, because they haven’t figured out how to replace smoking in their daily routines with another, healthier activity.

Vital Resources, Here in Our Community

As a certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (and former smoker of 14 years), I understand the barriers facing those who want to quit -- from worrying about the possibility of weight gain to the struggle of facing cravings that can happen at any time, no matter how long you’ve gone without a cigarette.

That’s why we are proud to offer smoking cessation program right here in Central Vermont Medical Center, with extensive follow-up services that give people support they can rely on as they choose a healthier lifestyle.

For more information about upcoming Tobacco Cessation classes at Central Vermont Medical Center, click here.

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