Five Common Myths about Tobacco Use
Myth 1: Smoking is just a bad habit.
Fact: Tobacco use is an addiction. Nicotine is a very addictive drug. For some people, it can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
Myth 2: Quitting is just a matter of willpower.
Fact: Because smoking is an addiction, quitting is often difficult. A number of treatments are available that can help.
Myth 3: If you can't quit the first time you try, you will never be able to quit.
Fact: Quitting is hard. Usually people make several attempts before being able to quit for good.
Myth 4: The best way to quit is "cold turkey."
Fact: The most effective way to quit smoking is by using a combination of counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (such as the nicotine patch) or non-nicotine medicines (such as Bupropion SR). Your health care provider or smoking cessation clinic is the best place to go to for help with quitting.
Myth 5: Quitting is expensive.
Fact: Treatments cost from $3 to $10 a day. A pack-a-day smoker spends almost $1,000 per year. See if your health insurance covers smoking cessation medications and/or counseling.
Are you are serious about wanting to quit smoking?
If so, write down a list of reasons why you want to stop. Do it right now. (Your reasons might include anything from "want to live longer" to "want to save money for a car instead of spending it on cigarettes.")
Once you have created your list, carry it around with you. Anytime you think of a new reason to quit, add it to your list.
Set a quit date sometime in the next few weeks.
Next, call around in your community to find out about smoking cessation resources. Your county health department or local hospital may offer smoking cessation counseling or classes. Ask your health care provider: some providers may be expert at helping their patients stop smoking while others will refer you to somewhere else in the community for help. Make an appointment to go in to talk to someone who can help you quit.
Start paying attention to when you smoke each cigarette. Do you smoke when you are bored? Lonely? Hungry? Tired? Angry? Do you smoke after meals? Do you go out to smoke to get away from people or work? Do you have a physical craving to smoke, or are you just smoking out of habit. Make a list of all your "triggers" to smoke.
Have you tried to quit in the past? If so, what was it that made you start smoking again? What will you do this time if that same situation comes up?
Make a list of things you can do instead of smoking once you quit. Some people chew gum, some eat pretzels, some go for a walk around the block every time the craving hits. Having a long list of possible strategies to distract you when you are tempted to smoke will be very helpful.
Read as much as you can about smoking cessation. Information is available at your library as well as on the Internet. The Centers for Disease Control has lots of information about quitting smoking at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/how2quit.htm.
Now it's time to go to your appointment with the person who is going to help you stop smoking. Take your lists along. Be ready to discuss the possibility of using some type of nicotine replacement to help you quit. A medication called Zyban (Bupropion SR) may also be considered.
Another source of help for Oregon residents is the Toll-Free Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at (877) 270-STOP. The Toll-Free Spanish Line is (877) 266-3863. See www.ohd.hr.state.or.us/tobacco/quitline.htm for information.
Ask for help: from your family, friends and co-workers. Tell them that you are serious about stopping smoking and ask for their support. Ask them not to smoke around you, not to offer you cigarettes and for encouragement.
Don't forget to reward yourself for your successful efforts at quitting. Take the money you are saving by not buying cigarettes and put it in a fund, and treat yourself to something special 6 months from now.