Quitting smoking is possible
Danielle Williams, MS, CACII, LPC
Cigarette smoking is a leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Smoking affects nearly every organ of the body. It can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
And let’s not forget the potential detrimental impact of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers.
However, the benefits of quitting can be felt within the first 20 minutes. According to the American Lung Association, the heart rate returns to normal and, over the next 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease will return to that of a nonsmoker.
Quitting cigarette smoking is hard and can require several attempts. Research suggests that nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. People who are trying to quit often struggle with withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, which can include irritability, increase in appetite, anger, anxiety and cravings.
Quitting is possible, and it is never too late! It is important to develop a quit plan when deciding to stop smoking cigarettes. Quit plans need to be individualized; however, there are some treatment options that have been proven to be effective. A primary care doctor can offer guidance and information about medication assistance treatment options for smoking cessation such as Zyban (bupropion) or Chantix (varenicline).
Working with a counselor individually to set a quit date, recognize triggers, develop healthy coping strategies and tobacco-proof your home and car, and building a support network can increase your chance of quitting.
A great resource to learn more about these treatment options and others is the national quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
Danielle Williams, MS, CACII, LPC, is a certified addictions counselor and a licensed professional counselor. She has more than 10 years experience in treating adolescents and adults with substance use disorders as well as mild mental health disorders, anger management, couples, families, compulsive gambling and trauma. She provides substance use disorder counseling to patients at HopeHealth Behavioral Health Services in Florence.