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Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking is the main preventable cause of death and illness in the United States. Smoking can negatively affect your heart, blood vessels by damaging your blood vessels and increasing your risk of atherosclerosis – better known as hardening of the arteries. Smoking is especially a major risk factor for heart disease when combined with other risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

You Can Quit Smoking!

Nicotine: a powerful addiction

If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you know how hard it can be. It is hard because nicotine is a very addictive drug. For some people it can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Usually, people make two or three tries – or more – before finally quitting. Each time you try to quit, you learn about what helps and what hurts the process. Improve your health immediately!

Did you know that 20 minutes after quitting:

  • Blood pressure drops
  • Pulse rate drops
  • Body temperature increases

After 8 Hours:

  • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
  • Oxygen levels increase to normal after 24 hours
  • Chance of a heart attack drops

5 Keys to Quitting Smoking

  1. Get ready.
  2. Get support.
  3. Learn new skills and behaviors.
  4. Get medication and use it correctly.
  5. Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.

Quit Smoking for Good!

Get ready.

  • Set a quit date.
  • Change your environment.
    • Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and place of work.
    • Don’t let people smoke in your home.
  • Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
  • If you “slip” and smoke, don’t give up. Set a new date to get back on track.

Get support and encouragement.

Studies have shown you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. You can get support in many ways.

  • Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are going to quit smoking and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes sitting out.
  • Talk to your health care provider (i.e., doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist or smoking counselor).
  • Get individual, group or telephone counseling. The more counseling support you have, the better your chances are of quitting. The North Carolina Tobacco Use Quitline
  • 1-800-784-8669 is a free cessation support program (see reverse).

Learn new skills & behaviors.

  • Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone; go for a walk; or get busy with a task.
  • When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
  • Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise or read a book.
  • Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
  • Drink a lot of water and other liquids.
  • Most people gain up to two hours of time a day when they stop lighting up. You will need something to keep your hands busy. Try cutting drinking straws the length of a cigarette to chew on or to “smoke.”
  • Make a list of the times you know you’ll have cravings and develop a plan to get through them, i.e. taking a walk, chewing a straw, etc.

Get medication and use it correctly.

Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications to help you quit smoking. All of these medications will more or less double your chances of quitting and quitting for good.

Ask your physician for advice and carefully read the information on the package:

  • Bupropion SR – available by prescription
  • Chantix – available by prescription
  • Nicotine gum – available over the counter
  • Nicotine inhaler – available by prescription
  • Nicotine lozenge – available over the counter
  • Nicotine nasal spray – available by prescription
  • Nicotine patch – available by prescription and over the counter

Trying to quit may benefit from using a medication. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.

Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.

Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Don’t be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember that most people try several times before they finally quit. Watch out for the following scenarios which make quitting even more difficult:

  • Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
  • Other Smokers. Being around smoking can make you want to smoke.
  • Weight Gain. Many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don’t let weight gain distract you from your main goal – quitting smoking. Some smoking cessation medications may help delay weight gain.
  • Bad Mood or Depression. Missing smoking may cause irritability or depression. Replacing smoking with creative activities will help. Sometimes you may need to speak with a friend, a counselor, or a minister about coping with your feelings.

Are You At Risk for Developing Lung Cancer?

If you fit these criteria, you may be at high-risk for lung cancer and qualify for a low-dose CT lung cancer screening. 

Early detection could help save your life.

  Are you between the ages of 55 and 77 years old?

  Are you a current or previous smoker who has quit in the past 15 years?

  Do you have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years? 
(1 pack a day for 30 years, or 2 packs a day for 15 years)

Lung Cancer Screening

Learn More About Lung Cancer Screening

Resources for Smoking Cessation

NC Tobacco Use Quitline

1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)

  • Free and confidential
  • Trained quit coaches help you quit and can call you back, upon request

For more information about quitting tobacco, check out these resources:

Online Counseling

Quit for good this time. Quit with WakeMed.

Quit with WakeMed is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary tobacco cessation program designed to help you quit tobacco for good.

Our specially-trained team will provide you with the tools, therapies and support you need to be successful. This approach to tobacco cessation has proven to be approximately 10 times more effective than quitting on your own.

Why quit?

  Improve health status and enhances quality of life, improves life expectancy and reduces risk of premature death

  Lower the odds of developing up to 12 types of cancer and/or improving cancer treatment outcomes for those already diagnosed

  Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases

  Lower the risk of complications from surgery

  Reduces the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  Can reduce anxiety and depression

Learn More About Quit With WakeMed Or Call 919-350-QUIT (7848)

WakeMed is Tobacco-Free.

WakeMed Health & Hospitals is completely tobacco-free. This policy, which supports WakeMed’s commitment to the promotion of health, prohibits the use of any tobacco products on all WakeMed campuses, facilities and office space (including parking lots, sidewalks and other outside areas).

The tobacco-free policy applies to anyone at these facilities, including employees, volunteers, medical staff, vendors, patients and visitors. Thank you for your support of this important policy.