Harrisburg Primary Medical Care

Table of Contents:
Breast Self-Exam
Coping with Arthritis
Sleep Apnea
Ways to Quit Smoking
Echocardiogram Services
The Skinny on Weight Gain
Fitness Fundamentals

Ways to Quit Smoking

It's not too late to quit smoking.

Quitting smoking helps your circulation, your stamina, your skin, and your general health. Your risk for coronary heart disease, a common cause of death and disability, is halved after only a year without smoking. Quitting smoking also reduces the likelihood of your getting respiratory problems and lung cancer.

Studies have shown that your smoke affects others as well as yourself. Children of parents who smoke around the house are more prone to respiratory infections than children from non-smoking homes.

Smoking is an addictive habit. Most former smokers make several attempts to quit before they are finally successful. So, never say, "I can't." Just keep trying.

Set a quit date.

Set a date for when you will stop smoking. Don't buy cigarettes to carry you beyond your last day. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit, and ask for their support and encouragement. Ask them not to offer you cigarettes.

Throw your cigarettes away.

If you keep cigarettes around, sooner or later you'll break down and smoke one, then another, then another, and so on. Throw them away. Make it less easy to start again.

Try chewing gum as a substitute for cigarettes.

Spend time with nonsmokers rather than with smokers.

Think of yourself and identify yourself as a nonsmoker (for example, in restaurants). Stay away from "smokers' havens," such as bars. Avoid spending time with smokers. You can't tell others not to smoke, but you don't have to sit with them while they do. Old habits die hard and one of your old smoking buddies is sure to offer you a cigarette. Plan on walking away from cigarette smoke. Spend time with nonsmokers and sit in the nonsmoking section of restaurants.

Start an exercise program.

As you become more fit, you will not want the nicotine effects in your body. Regular exercise will also help fight the tendency to gain weight when you quit smoking.

Keep your hands busy.

You may find you don't know what to do with your hands for a while. Pick up a book or a magazine. Try knitting, needlework, pottery, drawing, making a plastic model, or doing a jigsaw puzzle. Join special interest groups that keep you involved in your hobby.

Take on new activities.

Take on new activities that don't include smoking. Join an exercise group and work out regularly. Sign up for an evening class or join a study group at your place of worship. Go on more outings with your family or friends. Learn ways to relax and manage stress.

Join quit-smoking programs if it helps.

Some people do better in groups, or with a set of instructions to follow. That's fine, too. Remember, the aim is to quit smoking. It doesn't matter how you do it.

Consider using nicotine gum or nicotine patches.

Nicotine is the drug that is in tobacco. You can use nicotine patches or gum, available without a prescription at your local pharmacy, to quit smoking. It is a two-step process. First you learn to live without smoking, but not without nicotine. Then, as you graduate to patches with less nicotine, or chew less of the nicotine gum, you wean yourself off the nicotine.

Think about asking your doctor for a prescription medication.

There are medicines available, such as Zyban, to help you quit.

You may prefer to be involved in an organized quit-smoking program while you are using nicotine patches or gum or other medicine to help you quit. None of these treatments is a miracle cure. You still need to learn to live without cigarettes in your daily life.

Developed by Ann Carter, MD, for McKesson Clinical Reference Systems. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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Primary Care Group
117 E Clark
Harrisburg, IL 62946

phone    618-252-8625
fax    618-252-2540

Sloan Medical Clinic
7211 US Highway 45
Carrier Mills, IL 62917

phone    618-994-2321
fax    618-994-2034

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