Friday, September 12, 2008

Battle Plan to Quit Cigarette Smoking

As we know smoking is a leading contributor to heart disease, high blood pressure, emphysema and many different forms of cancer. Quitting smoking can decrease these risks dramatically.

Many patients come into my office asking for the latest fad or the latest pill to quit smoking. Usually the request will come at the end of the patient visit as, " By the way doc, Can you give me a prescription for that new pill that will stop me from smoking? " To my patient's surprise, my answer is almost always "No, not right now." I usually get a quizzical look and then a "Why not doc? Don't you want to help me quit smoking?"

Let me explain:

It is not that I want you to continue smoking. I just want you to fully prepare for the battle that lies ahead of you. I want to help you to succeed, not set you up to fail. There is no pill or patch that alone, will stop you from smoking. To quit smoking you need to set up a battle plan as if you are in a war.

Here are a few questions you must ask yourself when you decide to try to quit smoking:

· Do I enjoy smoking?
· Why do I smoke?
· Where do I smoke?
· When do I smoke?
· Who do I smoke with?
· How much do I smoke?
· How much do I spend on cigarettes per day, per week, per month and per year?
· Do I get sick more often due to smoking?
· Do I miss work or school due to smoking?

I always ask my patients to think about these questions, devise answers to each, and then develop a plan of attack to combat them. Once the plan is set, I ask my patients to come in to my office to review their plan. If the plan sounds reasonable we then review the different pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options available that might help. But please let me repeat myself. I have never seen a patient quit smoking just by taking a pill. Every patient who has been successful at quitting smoking first devised a plan of attack and also had the courage, motivation and true desire to quit.

I encourage all my patients who smoke to please utilize all resources available in your effort to quit. When you feel you have developed a plan and need my help, the chances that you will succeed will be much greater!

Below are some resources that you may utilize to develop your battle plan: (Smoking cessation resource center)

Good Luck and I hope to see you in my office with a well developed battle plan soon!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.

Board Certified Family Medicine

Founder of The Institute for Medical Wellness

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