You’ve Decided To Quit Smoking: What’s Next?

Making the decision to quit smoking is a crucial first step. But actually stopping tobacco use can be extremely difficult. The good news is that people don’t have to go through quitting smoking alone. A primary care doctor can provide crucial resources that help with quitting.

center for family medicine How Can Your Primary Care Doctor Help You Quit Smoking

Medical-based programs

Many hospitals, healthcare companies, and community centers offer smoking cessation programs. Some cessation programs rely on nicotine replacement products, while others focus heavily on behavior modification. A healthcare provider can help people connect with the program that will be most effective based on individual circumstances.

Join a support group

Similar to cessation programs, support groups can help people find a safe space to talk through the challenges associated with quitting. People can also form friendships through these groups, as participants bond over common experiences. Often, a healthcare provider can connect patients with the right resources for finding a good support group.

Nicotine replacements

When used appropriately, many medications can make the process of quitting a bit easier. Nicotine replacements such as nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges can be used for two to three months to help people transition to going cold turkey. However, using nicotine replacements alongside nicotine can have harmful health effects. These products need to be used exactly as directed by a healthcare provider.

Non-nicotine prescriptions

A primary care doctor may also recommend a medication to aid with smoking cessation. There are a couple of helpful medicines that are not nicotine replacements. These prescriptions come in pill form and work by blocking the flow of the brain chemicals that cause people to want to smoke. These medicines can have adverse effects, such as behavioral changes or increases in hostility. For that reason, people should only take these medicines as directed and under the care of a doctor. When a person no longer needs these medications, tapering off gradually is necessary.

How do I know when I need to quit?

Smoking on any level is harmful to health. But there are some signs that indicate a person has a severe dependency. Some of these include:

  • Waking up in the middle of the night to smoke
  • Smoking within a few minutes of waking up in the morning
  • Smoking more than 1 pack a day
  • Smoking to ease symptoms of withdrawal

Get help today

Quitting smoking is difficult. But the positive health effects start the day a person stops. A primary care doctor can provide guidance and support to help people effectively quit tobacco. To learn more about smoking cessation, speak with a healthcare provider.