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Stop smoking

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Stop smoking

Post by Y I N G on Tue 07 Jun 2011, 6:52 am

“Smoking is pulmonary rape.”

MANILA, Philippines — Let's start with smokers’ rights. It is, basically, an individual’s right to do harm to his body provided he has a sane mind. Article 3. Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution states thus:

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” I’m really not sure if this is what smokers refer to when championing their rights but the rights of a non-smoker inhaling 2nd hand smoke are being violated too – each time they light up in a public place.

There’s no end to this debate I guess. As a doctor, I’m more inclined to side with non-smokers. As a person, I also emphathize with smokers who just want to be left alone with their pleasure. But then there are smokers who imagine a greater pleasure or satisfaction from quitting.

Seven ways. WebMD recently featured a great article from Debra Fulghum Bruce, PhD, on quitting cigarettes. There’s not much to add and I echo it here – her seven ways of “quitting smoking for good.”

1. Set a date to quit smoking. This makes sense if we know how to make dental appointments, meet work project deadlines, or even follow the maintenance schedule for our cars. Why can’t we do it for smoking? Write the date to quit smoking on the calendar. Make a memo of it on your cellphone (with an alarm!) and reinforce that with daily reminders.

2. Expect to feel miserable. That’s because nicotine is an addictive drug and any decision to quit will surely be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. Expect to feel irritable, angry, depressed, even violent. But stay the course and keep handy chewing gum or hard candy. Pop something edible in your mouth in place of a cigarette.

3. Remove smoking triggers. These are personal signals to smoke. Some smokers associate the need to light up on seeing a lighter, an ashtray – and God forbid – a pack of cigarettes! And a smoke feels right after a meal or in the toilet. You can ask friends or relatives to hide smoking triggers and for associations made with smoking, you just have to change them.

4. Try nicotine replacements. Please consult a doctor – a family medicine practitioner, a psychiatrist, a lung specialist, or an ENT specialist for guidance about nicotine substitutes. They may come in the form of gum, patches, inhalers, or lozenges.

5. Ask about drugs for quitting smoking. Again a medical consultation gets you guidance for the use of varenicline (Champix®). It does two things: reduces the craving for nicotine and decreases the pleasurable effects of cigarettes. Sometimes your doctor may want you on antidepressants.

6. Know why you crave cigarettes. How do you know if you’re a smoking addict? The usual figure is that if you’re unable to resist five to ten cigarettes a day, you’re hooked. The problem is nicotine addiction is no different in its power to control an individual, than say, heroin or cocaine. To answer #6 in depth, go to #7.

7. Get support or counseling. There are dozens of support groups in the Internet. Many hospitals have smoking cessation clinics with counseling services.

I suppose smokers are rolling their eyes asking why go through all the trouble. I think that it all becomes clear after labored breathing from emphysema or chronic bronchitis, after a heart attack or maybe, after cancer

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