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Ask the Avera Tobacco Cessation Expert

Are you ready to be a non-smoker? If you have tobacco cessation questions, this site allows you to chat with the Avera Heart Hospital Certified Tobacco Cessation Expert, Deb Murray, RT for tips and tricks to help you kick the habit.

Question:

How successful will a person be quitting alone?

Answer

Some 70 percent of smokers want to quit, but when they try it on their own, their success rate is only about 7 percent. Studies show that adding a couple of resources to your quit plan, such as counseling, nicotine replacements or other medications, can increase that success rate significantly. Also having the support of family and friends helps add to the success rate.

 

Question:

How can you help a family member or friend quit tobacco?

Answer

Family, friends and co-workers can play a major role in helping a tobacco user quit. Understand and accept that tobacco dependence is a chronic disease. Talk with the person asking them how they want you to help.

 

Question:

My mother is 70, and has been a smoker since her 20’s. Is it too late for her to quit?

Answer

No matter how much, how often or low long you’ve smoked, the day you quit your body starts having the positive effects of being tobacco free. You can sleep better, have better circulation, breathe better, lower the risk of cancer, lower the risk of stroke, and if you already have illness due to smoking you can help improve your condition by quitting now.

 

Question:

How much weight do you gain with quitting tobacco?

Answer

Smoking cigarettes burns calories by elevating the heart rate and increasing the metabolism rate. It takes weeks for your metabolism to adjust and in that time there may be a weight gain of 5 to 10 pounds. Smoking makes you feel good because of the release of dopamine (a chemical associated with pleasure) so high-calorie treats (candy, cookies) can give you the same effect. Keep healthy snacks available, team up a protein with a carbohydrate, drink plenty of water and remember portion control. Exercise also helps keep the mind off quitting and helps manage your weight.

 

Question:

I have been a smoker for 15 years. Could a medication help me to quit?

Answer

Using a medication can double the success rate. The FDA has approved Buproprion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix) to be used in quitting tobacco. You need to educate yourself and weigh the risks of taking medication verses continuing tobacco use.