Dene Dryden | Jan 4, 2021 AT 6:34 pm
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It’s the season for New Year’s resolutions, and many have to do with health. For people considering quitting smoking as their resolution, nurse practitioner and tobacco treatment specialist at CentraCare – Paynesville Wendy Miller says there are many benefits to kicking the habit.
“[Quitting] certainly reduces blood pressure, reduces inflammation in your lungs and within your blood vessels, reduces your risk of heart disease, numerous cancers, not just lung cancer … increased activity tolerance, improves smell and taste, more energy,” Miller said.
There are ways to quit smoking independently, from stopping cold turkey to using the various over-the-counter nicotine supplement aids available. However, people who quit with a healthcare provider’s help have a better chance of success, says CentraCare population health consultant Meghan Brown.
“Patients have a 98 percent higher rate of success when using the methods of tobacco treatment specialists, looking at both the counseling and the medication, as they would if there were to do other, more traditional ways, which includes cold turkey,” Brown said.
Miller added that tobacco cessation appointments and treatments are often covered by insurance.
Part of the process for quitting smoking (on your own or with a specialist) can be to identify when in your day you smoke cigarettes. Then, Brown says, try to eliminate one of those routine times.
“Maybe that first day, you’re going to try to not have the first cigarette or vape with your coffee and go through the day and consider that a success and see how long you can do with that and continue to build on it to help build some confidence that you are ready to quit,” Brown said.
If you have tried to quit cigarettes before but it didn’t work out, Miller said specialists like herself can help.
“This quit does not have to be as hard as the quits you’ve done in the past,” Miller said. “Most patients do tell me that it was easier than they thought it would be.”