Sunday, July 3, 2011

Be a Quitter! Stop Smoking!

I was inspired to post this because of  some special people in my life who are trying to stop smoking, as well as all the patients I see on a daily basis in and out of the hospital who would so LOVE to throw those cigarettes away and never think of them again.

Although we do see a lot of lung cancer patients in our area, a large percentage of our hospital admissions are patients with advanced COPD (Congestive Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Many of these patients spend a majority of their days in the hospital just to get some "air," when their inhalers and home oxygen just doesn't seem to be enough. I've had ICU patients beg me to take them out to smoke while they were still attached to a ventilator (aka "life support" or "breathing machine.") What we do know is that when people stop smoking, lung function starts to improve and COPD can be controlled where it's at, so put those smokes down start QUITTING!

It's usually easy to be a quitter - but only if we are quitting something we hate. It's very difficult to quit something that brings us joy and satisfaction, even if it's killing us. No one has told me to stop caffeine...or sugar...or (be still my beating heart) - BREAD! But if they did tell me that if I didn't stop, these things were going to kill me (sooner rather than later), what are some steps I would take to stop? Good question because that's just something I cannot and do not want to think about, so I can see where tobacco users have issues (not to mention the physical effects of the nicotine addiction, and the habits that have to be broken in order to stop).

Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society (with some additions by me) for all involved in this journey:

Do smoke outside and if you smoke while someone else is trying to stop - please always smoke somewhere far away from the quitter.

Do keep your cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of sight. They might be triggers for you or your loved one to smoke (or for you to burn the house down around you when your "nerves" are shot).

Don't ever offer the quitter a smoke, even as a joke!Being a Quitter is a sensitive subject, and you might get a knuckle sandwich for supper.

Do join your loved one in his or her effort to quit. It's better for your health and might be easier to do with someone else who is trying to quit, too.

Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out what resources might be available to you for your quit attempt.


Wonderleigh said...

Thanks Kim! I have a nephew who has started his quitting journey and everyone who cares about him is hoping he makes it this time. Thanks for your tips!

patty said...

great article, kim!