Tobacco use is the most common preventable cause of death. About half of the people who don’t quit smoking will die of smoking-related problems. Quitting smoking is important for your health and provides many benefits. Soon after you quit, your circulation begins to improve, and your blood pressure starts to return to a normal level. Your sense of smell and taste return and breathing starts to become easier. In the long term, giving up tobacco can help you live longer. Your risk of getting cancer decreases with each year you stay smoke-free.
Quitting is not easy, though. You may have short-term effects such as weight gain, irritability and anxiety. Some people try several times before succeeding. There are many ways to quit smoking. Some people stop “cold turkey.” Others benefit from step-by-step manuals, counseling or medicines or products that help reduce nicotine addiction. It is always best to contact your healthcare provider to talk about methods to quit.
A pack-a-day smoker who pays $7.50 for a pack of
cigarettes spends $52.50 a week. That’s $2,730.00 a year!
How to determine the strength of patch to use:
The patch comes in three strengths or steps: 21mg, 14mg, and 7mg.
• If you smoke less than 10 cigarettes per day, start with the 14 mg patch. Stay on the 14mg patch for 6 weeks, then step down to the 7mg for 2 weeks. You should also start with the 14 mg patch if you weigh less than 100lbs.
• If you smoke 10 to 20 cigarettes per day, stay with the 21 mg patch. Stay on the 21 mg patch for 4 to 6 weeks, then step down to the 14 mg for 2 weeks and then to the 7 mg for 2 weeks, for a total of 8 to 10 weeks on the patch.
• If you smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day you may also benefit from an intermittent nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) (like the inhaler, lozenge or gum) to use as a supplement to the 21 mg patch.
If you truly only smoke occasionally, you may want to use just an intermittent NRT and not use the patch at all.
How to apply the patch:
Step 1: Choose a non-hairy, clean, dry area of your skin. Acceptable sites include upper outer arm, and upper torso including abdomen, chest and back. You should avoid any irritated skin, tattoos, or scars.
Step 2: Cut open the patch with scissors, being careful not to cut the patch.
Step 3: Remove the backing and immediately apply the sticky side of the patch to your skin and press firmly for 10 to 20 seconds. Make sure it sticks well to your skin, especially around the edges.
Step 4: Wash your hands when you have finished applying the patch.
• Apply each patch approximately the same time everyday. Morning is preferred. As the nicotine will peak 2 to 6 hours after application. It is not advisable to apply at night. If you need to start in the evening you can always change the patch the next morning.
• Rotate the patch application site for the 7 days (upper torso, upper outer arms, back).
• Be sure to remove the old patch when applying a new one.
Daily Activities and storage of the patch:
• Continue with your daily routine.
• If the patch loosens you may crisscross adhesive tape over it or apply a new patch.
• If you patch gets wet, simply pat it dry. The patch is designed to be worn under all normal living conditions (i.e. showering, swimming, exercising, etc.)
• Unused patches must be stored at room temperature. Do not store patches in the refrigerator or leave them in a hot car.
Removal of Used Patches:
Step 1: Gently grab a corner of the patch and pull it away from you arm.
Step 2: Dispose of patch safely.
If adhesive residue remains on the skin after you have removed the patch, use a small amount of mineral or vegetable oil (such as corn oil) on a tissue and wipe off the residue. Do no scrape the area as it may irate the skin.
IMPORTANT: You can not smoke while using the patch
The 4 D’s to stop your cravings
Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, you will have to begin to control your cravings. One of the best ways to control your desire to have a cigarette is with the four D’s. Remember to perform these four tasks and you’ll slowly wean yourself off of those cravings!
Wait out the urge to smoke. It will pass in a few minutes.
Breathe in slowly and as deeply as you can, then breathe out slowly. Repeat this five times.
Sip water slowly and hold it in your mouth for a little while.
Talk to a friend, focus on the task you are doing, or get up and move around. Do something that takes your mind off smoking for a few minutes.
Effects of Quitting Smoking After:
20 minutes – Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 hours – The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
1 to 9 months – Your circulation improves, and you lung function improves.
1 year – The excess risk of coronary artery disease is half that of a person who continues to smoke.
5 years – Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus (swallowing tube) and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.
10 years – Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
15 years – Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.
These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs, to name but a few. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.