STOP SMOKING? - Texas Children's Hospital ... Quitting smoking is not just about breaking a bad...

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Transcript of STOP SMOKING? - Texas Children's Hospital ... Quitting smoking is not just about breaking a bad...

  • Why is it hard to STOP SMOKING? Answers to common questions about tobacco dependence

    Stop Smoking. The Time is Now.

    Tobacco-Dependence Treatment Tool Kit, 3rd Edition

  • American College of Chest Physicians 3300 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois 60062-2348 | (847) 498-1400 | (800) 343-2227

    www.chestnet.org

    Tobacco-Dependence Treatment Tool Kit, 3rd Edition

    Q: I’ve stopped other habits in the past, but this one seems harder. Why?

    A: Many people who have had—and conquered—addictions to other drugs like heroin or alcohol have commented that quitting smoking is much harder. Cigarettes deliver the “free-base” form of nicotine to the brain. Just like crack cocaine is more addictive than plain cocaine, free-base nicotine is much more powerful than plain nicotine. That’s why even the idea of giving up cigarettes can be so depressing. The good news is that, unlike many other drugs, nicotine addiction can be treated fairly easily and effectively. Ask for help. You don’t just deserve to stop; you deserve to stop well.

    “Cigarettes deliver the free-base form of nicotine” Q: Where do I get help?

    A: There’s lots of help available. You can call the American Cancer Society’s Toll Free Stop Line (800-ACS-2345) or the American Lung Association (800-LUNG-USA) to get advice on how to stop, or check on the location of the community tobacco dependence program nearest you.

    Less than 5% of people who smoke will stop without help Q: How hard is it to stop without help?

    A: Very few people who smoke who try to stop without help are successful. Cigarettes deliver very large quantities of nicotine to the brain. Nicotine changes the way the brain works. Nicotine is more addictive than alcohol, heroin, or cocaine on a gram-per-gram basis. Quitting smoking is not just about breaking a bad habit and it is certainly not just about willpower. Even those who are able to put cigarettes down find it difficult to stop for good. The more help you get, the easier it will be to remain tobacco free.

    Why do people smoke? Q: Everybody knows smoking is bad for you. Why do people still do it?

    A: Smoking is a complicated thing. People Who Smoke feel that smoking is important for many reasons. It can help them feel more comfortable with their friends. Some use cigarettes to help control weight. A very common feeling is that smoking helps to relieve stress by helping

  • American College of Chest Physicians 3300 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois 60062-2348 | (847) 498-1400 | (800) 343-2227

    www.chestnet.org

    Tobacco-Dependence Treatment Tool Kit, 3rd Edition

    people feel relaxed and satisfied. And many people simply like the sensation they get from nicotine and from smoking.

    Q: Why is smoking so satisfying?

    A: Believe it or not, smoking is enjoyable for people who smoke. The cigarette is the easiest way to deliver nicotine to the brain, and nicotine is one of the most powerful drugs creating satisfaction. It works so well because it turns on the “gut instinct” part of the brain, and that instinct tells the person who smokes they’re safe, comfortable, and content when nicotine is around.

    Does this mean I’ll never stop? Q: I once stopped for over 6 months but then went back. I had to be over the addiction by then, right?

    A: While nicotine leaves your system within 8 hours of stopping smoking, the effects of nicotine on your brain are more long lasting than that. Your brain needs time to heal, sometimes many years. During that time, it’s not uncommon to feel a subtle desire to pick up a cigarette. A slip is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign that your brain hasn’t finished healing yet. A slip doesn’t mean you are a person who smokes again. It is simply the time to ask for help and get back to stopping smoking.

    The truth is, one doesn’t “get over” an addiction. An alcoholic doesn’t become able to drink after 20 years of sobriety. A person who smokes doesn’t become able to smoke after 20 years nicotine free. What does happen is that, over time, the cravings become much less strong. As the habits of addiction are eliminated and replaced, the former user is better able to recognize the occasional craving and “let go” of it and is less likely to be triggered, even by situations that used to be strongly associated with smoking. In addition, as the nicotine leaves the system, the physical aspects of the addiction diminish as well.

    Q: I watched my mom struggle and die with lung cancer from smoking, but I’m still not scared enough to stop. How is that even possible?

    A: Motivation to stop is complicated. It’s not because you don’t understand how bad smoking is for you. And it’s not because you don’t care about your health. It’s because nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug that is capable of motivating you to keep using it, more so than even alcohol or heroin. The fact that you can keep smoking despite your experience is not a

  • American College of Chest Physicians 3300 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois 60062-2348 | (847) 498-1400 | (800) 343-2227

    www.chestnet.org

    Tobacco-Dependence Treatment Tool Kit, 3rd Edition

    function of how weak you are, it’s a function of how powerful nicotine is.

    How is it possible? Q: Whenever I think about stopping, I get this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. What’s going on?

    A: Most people who smoke know smoking is not good for them. But their gut instincts tell them that stopping is a bad idea. That sets up a conflict that many people who smoke deal with for decades... wanting to stop but not wanting to stop at the same time! This can result in feelings of shame, embarrassment, and a fear of failure.

    The truth is; it is NOT your fault. You CAN stop smoking.

    See You Deserve to Stop Smoking Comfortably, The Truth About Stopping Comfortably, and/or Thinking About Stopping Smoking for additional guidance.

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