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MUSC Health Blog

Keyword: quit smoking

by guest blogger Carolina Kosh, PharmD

Caroline Kosh, PharmD

Caroline Kosh, PharmD

Did you know tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States? Cigarette smoking substantially increases risk of heart attack, stroke, COPD, other respiratory illnesses (asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis), and lung cancer. 

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and will help almost every part of your body, including lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, improving circulation, and improving your immune system, just to name a few. Many of my patients also loathe the stigma attached to smokers and wish their teeth and breath looked and smelled better.

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit and make a difference for your health. In just 24 hours after your last cigarette, your blood pressure returns to normal. In just two weeks to three months your heart attack risk has started to drop and your lung function begins to improve (goodbye smoker’s cough!). One year after quitting your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. And the list goes on!

That is why we highly encourage our patients to quit smoking. MUSC Health offers a pharmacist-led smoking cessation program which includes counseling, medications, and support through constant follow-up. Studies have shown that patients are TWICE as likely to quit by having a combination of medications and counseling. We like those odds. That’s why our program includes one-on-one sessions with our pharmacists who will talk with you about your smoking and medical history, discuss past quit attempts, help select the right therapy for you, plan for and set a quit date, and offer support and follow-up during your transition to becoming smokefree. 

We have the capability to measure carbon monoxide levels here in the office, which for many people, is eye-opening and provides motivation to make a permanent change. Many people have been successful through this program. We have a pharmacist available in several different locations who would love to talk with you. If you are ready to change your life for the better, please talk with your MUSC Health primary care provider to be enrolled in our program today. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015 is the Great American Smokeout. Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event is your chance to triumph over addiction. Every November, we set aside the third Thursday to encourage smokers to go the distance, and to finally give up smoking.

About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and over 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.

By quitting — even for one day — you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk. It’s a race for your health, and it starts November 19. That’s the day that quitters win. #QuitLikeAChampion.

It's hard to quit tobacco.

Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have support, such as:

  • Telephone smoking-cessation hotlines
  • Stop-smoking groups
  • Online quit groups
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement products
  • Prescription medicine to lessen cravings
  • Guide books
  • Encouragement and support from friends and family members

Using 2 or more of these measures to quit smoking works better than using any one of them alone. For example, some people use a prescription medicine along with nicotine replacement. Other people may use as many as 3 or 4 of the methods listed above.

Want some tips for quitting? The American Cancer Society offers a Guide to Quitting Smoking.

And if you have friends or family who are trying to quit, help them out by reading these Do's and Don'ts for helping smokers quit.

MUSC also offers resources for those who want to quit.  You’ll find links to tips from former smokers, links to videos and even information about cessation classes.

Does it take more to make you want to quit?  How about a "Quit and Win" contest with cash prizes? MUSC and several community partners are sponsoring this contest In January of 2016.

Whatever it takes to get you to quit, we want to help! #QuitLikeAChampion


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