Designed to help quitters of any background, whether a chewer or smoker, professionally trained quit coaches help each person make a personalized plan for quitting. These quit specialists help plan a method of quitting that fits each person’s unique smoking pattern.
They can also help determine if nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) would be beneficial, which type to use and how to effectively use it. Help from a quit coach can keep quitters from making many common mistakes. The quit coaches may suggest a combination of methods, including medicines, local classes, self-help brochures and/or a network of family and friends.
The Montana Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) offers two free weeks of NRT (gum, patch or lozenge). People who use telephone counseling are twice as likely to stop smoking as those who don’t get this type of help.
Keeping in mind that nicotine addiction is both a mental and physical; the best way for most people to quit will be some combination of medicine, a method to change personal habits and emotional support. NRT, in the form of gum, patches, sprays, inhalers or lozenges, can take away the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms so that you can focus on the psychological aspects of quitting.
Some can quit without NRT, but most of those who attempt quitting do not succeed on the first try. Smokers usually need many tries before they are able to quit for good. So don’t be discouraged if you slip up; try again and make your attempt even more successful by adding another method or technique to help you quit.
Which type of NRT may be right for you? A few things to consider and discuss with the quit coach are whether you want once a day convenience, like the patch, or feel the need to have something in your mouth, such as the gum or lozenge.
Nicotine gum, lozenges and inhalers allow you to control your dosage to keep cravings under control. Nasal sprays work very quickly when you need it.
Both inhalers and nasal sprays require a doctor’s prescription.
Four key factors for quitting successfully are:
1) Making the decision to quit;
2) Setting a quit date and choosing a quit plan;
3) Dealing with withdrawal symptoms
and 4) Staying quit (maintenance).
Think about why you want to quit, write down your reasons and keep them handy. Once you have decided to quit, picking a quit date is very important.
Pick a day within the next month and make a strong, personal commitment to quit on that day.
Tell friends and family about your quit day and get rid of all the cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work.
Stock up on oral substitutes — sugarless gum, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers, straws and toothpicks. Decide on a plan that you and your quit coach develop, and, if using NRT therapy, use it exactly as directed.
Finally, envision yourself as a nonsmoker and practice saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.”
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