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Microsoft word - questions and answer about smoking cessation070607.doc
Questions and Answers
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A Library and Resource Center on Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Drugs, Mental Health and Wellness
How important is it to stop smoking?
Smoking cessation reduces the risk for developing
infections, such as pneumonia, which often causes death in
It is very important. Tobacco use remains the single most
preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette
smoking accounts for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths
Does cancer risk change after quitting smoking?
Quitting smoking reduces the risk for developing cancer,
Smoking is the most common risk factor for the
and this benefit increases the longer a person remains
development of lung cancer, which is the leading cause of
"smoke free." People who quit smoking reduce their risk
cancer death. It is also associated with many other types
of developing and dying from lung cancer. They also
of cancer, including cancers of the esophagus, larynx,
reduce their risk of other types of cancer. The risk of
kidney, pancreas, and cervix. Smoking also increases the
premature death and the chance of developing cancer due
risk of other health problems, such as chronic lung
to cigarettes depends on the number of years of smoking,
disease and heart disease. Smoking during pregnancy can
the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the age at which
have adverse effects on the unborn child, such as
smoking began, and the presence or absence of illness at
premature delivery and low birth weight.
the time of quitting. For people who have already
developed cancer, quitting smoking reduces the risk of
What are the immediate benefits of stopping smoking?
The health benefits of smoking cessation (quitting) are
At what age is smoking cessation the most beneficial?
immediate and substantial. Almost immediately, a person's
circulation begins to improve and the level of carbon
Smoking cessation benefits men and women at any age.
monoxide in the blood begins to decline. Carbon monoxide,
Some older adults may not perceive the benefits of
a colorless, odorless gas found in cigarette smoke, reduces
quitting smoking; however, smokers who quit before age
the blood's ability to carry oxygen. A person's pulse rate and
50 have half the risk of dying in the next 16 years
blood pressure, which may be abnormally high while
compared with people who continue to smoke. By age 64,
smoking, begin to return to normal. Within a few days of
their overall chance of dying is similar to that of people
quitting, a person's sense of taste and smell return, and
the same age who have never smoked. Older adults who
quit smoking also have a reduced risk of dying from
coronary heart disease and lung cancer. Additional,
What are the long-term benefits of stopping smoking?
immediate benefits (such as improved circulation, and
increased energy and breathing capacity) are other good
People who quit smoking live longer than those who
reasons for older adults to become smoke free.
continue to smoke. After 10 to 15 years, a previous
tobacco user's risk of premature death approaches that of
What are some of the difficulties associated with
a person who has never smoked. About 10 years after
quitting, an ex-smoker's risk of dying from lung cancer is
30 percent to 50 percent less than the risk for those who
Quitting smoking may cause short-term after-effects, especially
continue to smoke. Women who stop smoking before
for those who have smoked a large number of cigarettes for a
becoming pregnant or who quit in the first 3 months of
long period of time. People who quit smoking are likely to feel
pregnancy can reverse the risk of low birth weight for the
anxious, irritable, hungry, more tired, and have difficulty
baby and reduce other pregnancy-associated risks.
sleeping. They may also have difficulty concentrating. Many
Quitting also reduces the risk of other smoking-related
tobacco users gain weight when they quit, but usually less than
diseases, including heart disease and chronic lung disease.
10 pounds. These changes do subside. People who kick the
There are also many benefits to smoking cessation for people
habit have the opportunity for a healthier future.
who are sick or who have already developed cancer.
How can health care providers help their patients to
conditions, allergies, or asthma, nor is it
Doctors and dentists can be good sources of information
A nicotine inhaler
, also available only by
about the health risks of smoking and about quitting.
prescription, was approved by the FDA in 1997. This
They can tell their patients about the proper use and
device delivers a vaporized form of nicotine to the
potential side effects of nicotine replacement therapy, and
mouth through a mouthpiece attached to a plastic
help them find local smoking cessation programs.
cartridge. Even though it is called an inhaler, the
device does not deliver nicotine to the lungs the way
Doctors and dentists can also play an important role by
a cigarette does. Most of the nicotine only travels to
patients about smoking at every office visit;
the mouth and throat, where it is absorbed through
patients to stop; assisting
patients by setting a
the mucous membranes. Common side effects
quit date, providing self-help materials, and suggesting
include throat and mouth irritation and coughing.
nicotine replacement therapies (when appropriate); and
Anyone with a bronchial problem such as asthma
What is nicotine replacement therapy?
Are there smoking cessation aids that do not
Nicotine is the drug in cigarettes and other forms of
tobacco that causes addiction. Nicotine replacement
Bupropion, a prescription antidepressant marketed as
products deliver small, steady doses of nicotine into the
Zyban®, was approved by the FDA in 1997 to treat
body, which helps to relieve the withdrawal symptoms
nicotine addiction. This drug can help to reduce nicotine
often felt by people trying to quit smoking. These
withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke. Some
products, which are available in four forms (patches,
common side effects of bupropion are dry mouth,
gum, nasal spray, and inhaler), appear to be equally
difficulty sleeping, dizziness, and skin rash. People
effective. There is evidence that combining the nicotine
should not use this drug if they have a seizure condition
patch with nicotine gum or nicotine nasal spray increases
such as epilepsy or an eating disorder such as anorexia
long-term quit rates compared with using a single type of
nervosa or bulimia, or if they are taking other medicines
nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine gum, in
combination with nicotine patch therapy, may also reduce
withdrawal symptoms better than either medication alone.
What if efforts to quit result in relapse?
Researchers recommend combining nicotine replacement
therapy with advice or counseling from a doctor, dentist,
Many smokers find it difficult to quit smoking, and it may
take two or three attempts before they are finally able to
quit. Although relapse rates are most common in the first
The nicotine patch
, which is available over the
few weeks or months after quitting, people who stop
counter (without a prescription), supplies a steady
smoking for 3 months are often able to remain cigarette-
amount of nicotine to the body through the skin. The
nicotine patch is sold in varying strengths as an 8-
week smoking cessation treatment. Nicotine doses
What agencies and organizations are available to
are gradually lowered as the treatment progresses.
help people stop smoking?
The nicotine patch may not be a good choice for
people with skin problems or allergies to adhesive
A number of organizations provide information and materials
about where to find help to stop smoking. State and local
health agencies often have information about community
is available over the counter in 2- and
smoking cessation programs. The local or county government
4-mg strengths. Chewing nicotine gum releases
section in the phone book (blue pages) has current phone
nicotine into the bloodstream through the lining of
numbers for health agencies. Information to help people quit
the mouth. Nicotine gum might not be appropriate for
smoking is also available through community hospitals, the
people with temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ)
yellow pages (under "drug abuse and addiction"), public
or for those with dentures or other dental work such
libraries, health maintenance organizations, health fairs,
Nicotine nasal spray
was approved by the U.S. Food
Connecticut Smoking Cessation Programs:
and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for use by
prescription only. The spray comes in a pump bottle
containing nicotine that tobacco users can inhale
National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health
when they have an urge to smoke. This product is not
recommended for people with nasal or sinus
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