Sugar Matters
June 24, 2014
Deadly Sin #3 revisited – Time to quit smoking

Yes, say it with me: IT’S TIME TO QUIT SMOKING!!!

Resolution or not, whether you have tried in the past or not, whether it is your spouse/girlfriend/ boyfriend/child/boss/choir partner/bus driver asking you to quit or just my persistent begging, IT IS TIME.{{more}}

Again, I understand that this is not easy for most people. In truth, most people needed some help and took a few attempts before it really “took.” Cigarette smoking is an addiction and is approached as both a combined medical and behavioural problem, like all addictions. The nicotine itself is an addictive substance, and the act of smoking is a habit that, like all habits, is tough to break.

Research has shown that the best approach to quitting smoking involves a combination of approaches, including possibly trying some medications or anti-smoking agents like the cigarette gum etc, as well as support groups and counselling. That may not be all available for you, but it doesn’t mean you should give up right away.

Here are a few pointers to help you get started on that road to quitting:

1) Chose a “quit date.” This is the chosen day when you will STOP SMOKING. Having an actual day, instead of “sometime next month” is a concrete way of making yourself accountable.

2) Get rid of the cigarettes in your house, car, and anywhere easily accessible. This sounds like just common sense, but you would be surprised at how many people fall off the wagon because they are having a tough day and opened their glove compartment, only to have a pack of cigarettes fall out…

3) Stop hanging around your friends who smoke. If your spouse or someone else in your house smokes, it makes quitting a hundred times harder. Get them to quit with you! Or if they unfortunately decline and want to hold on to those cigarettes to the grave, then have them smoke outside.

4) Talk to your doctor about quitting. Even if all options for medications are not available, there may be some others that can be used to take the edge off those first few weeks of quitting.

5) Keep busy. One of the big downfalls people have is weight gain when they try to quit smoking; it is mostly because you now have empty hands that used to be kept busy holding a cigarette. Now you wander off to find food. Try to stay busy, so that you don’t end up with a bag of chips in your hands every time you have a spare minute.

Aside from diabetics and people who already have heart, lung or vessel disease and those who have already had strokes, there are a few other groups who need to try EXTRA hard to stop smoking:

—You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or spend time around a pregnant woman. The damages in pregnancy that are related to smoking are serious. You are harming a mother, and a child who has no option but to be exposed to this poison. Think about it.

—You are around children. Few things vex me more than seeing an adult light up a cigarette around a child. It is all I can do to stop myself from wandering over and grabbing the cigarette. Exposure to smoking raises the child’s risk of asthma, lung infections and other disorders. Again, think.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227