Great American Smokeout: Time To Breathe Some Fresh Air
The Great American Smokeout event is here, and the U.S. health regulators are offering some helping hand for those who desire to quit smoking.
The difficult to beat addiction to Nicotine may be a barrier, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administraion and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC have issued steps and advice to beat the dangerous habit.
The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is being organized on the third Thursday in November, joined by thousands of people across the country who want to lead a smoke-free life.
According to the FDA, there are 34 million U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes in the country, and this leading cause of preventable death and disease accounts for 480,000 premature deaths per year.
Even though people know cigarettes are harmful to their health, Nicotine, the highly addictive drug present in tobacco products, keeps them away from quitting smoking. The profit- motived tobacco companies have designed cigarettes to deliver nicotine quickly to the brain, keeping people addicted even when they want to quit.
Some are successful in their first attempt, while majority needs several tries before they succeed.
The FDA quoted certain studies to note that in 2018, in about 55 percent of adult smokers who had made a quit attempt in the past year, only about 8 percent were successful in quitting for 6-12 months.
According to the agency, though it may take several attempts to quit smoking for good, even small successes are wins, and in the process, they can learn new techniques to implement and move one step closer to their goal.
It also asks to keep certain things in mind during the first few days after quitting smoking. As the nicotine leaves one’s system, there may be much discomfort, but awareness of the symptoms will help them to plan for ways to handle them.
There may also be temporary depression; disrupted sleep patterns; irritability; anxiety; difficulty concentrating; increased appetite. While uncomfortable, these symptoms should only last a few weeks, the FDA noted.
They also need to be careful as certain places, occasions, and behaviors can bring up an urge to smoke even after withdrawal symptoms have ended. Noticing these situations and making a plan will help divert the desire.
The FDA suggests talking to one’s doctor about the quit plan as they may have advisee on how to quit smoking. There is nicotine replacement therapy, also referred to as NRT, with FDA-approved therapies such as nicotine skin patches, gum, and lozenges that can help one through the initial part of quitting, by relieving cravings and lessening withdrawal symptoms.
NRTs are available both by prescription and over-the-counter for adults age 18 and over.
According to CDC, most adults who smoke cigarettes want to quit, and more than three out of five adults who have ever smoked cigarettes have quit.
CDC noted that counseling and medications can double or even triple one’s chances of quitting for good. There are many tools available, and people are advised to use quit-smoking support services.
The agency added that quitting smoking improves health both immediately and over the long term, regardless of one’s age and the duration of the habit.
Quitting smoking reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. There is also much reduced risks to family members, coworkers, friends, and others from issues associated with breathing secondhand smoke.
A new report, jointly developed by WHO, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the University of Newcastle, shows that quitting smoking can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30 to 40 percent.
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