By Shannon Long, RN, BSN, CHC, Methodist Hospital, Prevention and Wellness Services
Statistics are everywhere about the harm tobacco use can cause to our health,
as it increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, many types of cancer,
and pulmonary disease.
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
According to the American Lung Association, although adult and youth smoking
rates in Kentucky are at a near all-time low, there has been a rise in
the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Why is tobacco cessation so difficult?
If you have never been addicted to nicotine, it is difficult to understand
why a tobacco user cannot simply stop smoking cigarettes, dipping or using
other forms of tobacco. Individuals who smoke not only have a bad habit
but a physical addiction to nicotine. While nicotine is a powerful drug
that can be as addicting as heroin, it temporarily elevates our mood,
decreases appetite, increases memory and focus and helps with anxiety
and relaxation. However, when the drug levels of nicotine drop, the body
craves more and the cycle continues.
Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to tobacco?
E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA. There is no evidence indicating
they are safe or help with tobacco cessation. Most contain nicotine, flavoring
and other harmful chemicals. With over 8,000 flavors and clever packaging,
e-cigarettes are very appealing to our youth. Studies show they trust
these products but can often misuse them or they can malfunction causing
physical harm. The CDC has concerns that using e-cigarettes causes an
addiction to nicotine and furthers the use of tobacco products.
Where can I go for support?
Talk to your health care provider about the right FDA approved medications
for tobacco cessation. It is important to have a plan that works for you
on your journey to be tobacco free.
- Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for 24/7 services available to all.
- Attend a free one-hour Plan to Be Tobacco Free meeting at Methodist Hospital
Prevention and Wellness Services (June 28, 2018 and July 26, 2018).
- Join a tobacco cessation support group. Methodist Hospital has trained
Freedom From Smoking facilitators (August 9, 2018, introduction class).
About Shannon Long, RN, BSN, CHC
Shannon Long is a Registered Nurse and Wellness Supervisor in Prevention
and Wellness Services at Methodist Hospital. Call 270-826-4646 for more
information about smoking and smoking cessation programs.