We all know that smoking is bad for our health but that doesn’t make it any easier to quit. Whether you smoke a pack a day or just need a nicotine fix during coffee breaks, you can quit. No two smokers are alike so your plan to quit will be your own.
Here are a few tips that can help:
- Identify what kind of smoker you are: A heavy smoker? A smoker when you are stressed or out with friends and having a few drinks?
- Recognize challenges that lie ahead: There will be short-term challenges to stop and long-term challenges to prevent relapse.
- Set a date to quit: Chose a day. The first of a month. Within two weeks. On your birthday. This will help you prepare and stay motivated.
- Tell your family and friends: Let your family and friends know that you plan to quit smoking. Tell them you need support and encouragement.
- Remove cigarettes and tobacco products: That includes throwing away lighters, ashtrays and matches from your home, office and car.
- Talk to your doctor: You might be prescribed medication to help with withdrawal symptoms.
- Plan for challenges: When you crave nicotine, use the four Ds:
- Delay for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed.
- Deep breathe. Close your eyes, slowly breathe in the through your nose and out through your mouth. Picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.
- Drink water slowly, sip by sip.
- Do something else. Get up and move around.
Sidhu Gangadharan, MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology says, “It is important for longtime smokers who don't have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer to get screened for lung cancer. If lung cancer is detected early, it's more likely to be cured with treatment.”
He adds, “We know that a multidisciplinary approach as a team is the best way to improve care. The Chest Disease Center at BIDMC is one of only a few institutions that brings together thoracic surgeons and interventional pulmonologists within one division.”
Worried about the effects of your smoking history? BIDMC can help.
To make an appointment with the Chest Disease Center, call (617) 632-8252.
To make an appointment for a lung cancer screening, call (617) 667-5712.