Smoking is one of the worst vices to have. Thankfully, over the past 50 years, the research and education about the dangers of smoking has become widespread. Nationally, there are still some that pick up the habit. For those smokers out there, quitting cigarettes is like the saying “better late than never.” It’s hard but there are ways to do it. Let’s examine them.
Nicotine Patches and Gum
Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical additive in cigarettes that keeps you coming back for more. In a way, it is just as deadly as the dangerous carcinogens found in cigarettes because they allow for just enough to not immediately harm you (you can actually overdose on nicotine) but enough to keep you addicted. Nicotine gum has proven effective at stopping people in the beginning of their transition out of smoking cigarettes. In the beginning, you are taking in about the same amount of nicotine and then slowly decrease your levels in an effort to wean yourself off the habit of smoking. For many smokers, one of the hardest parts of quitting is losing that oral habit, so chewing gum can be helpful in keeping that bit of routine. However, be careful not to give into the cravings when you are using nicotine replacement products. The overload of nicotine to your system can have harmful side effects.
The sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cig has exploded in the last 3-5 years. Former smokers can still have the sensation of smoking cigarette without any of the carcinogens or the harmful second hand smoke. They are allowed to be used in most places so if a craving should hit, you can employ it. The e-cig is actually filled with a solution of “propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings” and then superheated to a breathable vapor. Like the patch and gum, the nicotine in the e-cig solution is supposed to decrease your smoking until you don’t have the urge anymore. Electronic cigarettes have come under fire because of the potential health risks of the chemicals in the solution, some say that it just acts as a stall before actually quitting, but there are solutions that do not use nicotine, do your research and speak to your doctors about your quitting solutions.
Some smokers have found relief from the addiction through nicotine replacement therapy found with certain prescription medicines. The two major brands of anti-smoking medications are Zyban and Chantix. Zyban contains the active ingredient Bupropion and is helps to lessen the urge to smoke while Chantix contains Varenicline which helps with nicotine withdrawal and if a smoker does decide to smoke again the medicine blocks the nicotine from cigarettes. These medicines are still in their infancy and have serious side effects such as “nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting as well as headaches, abnormal dreams and taste disturbance” as well as some psychological problems.
Weaning oneself off of any addiction is extremely difficult that is why if you are attempted this journey, find support, reach out to an online community and don’t participate in the same activities where you once smoked. The benefits of quitting smoking, no matter when, can be felt immediately. Former smokers report better moods, better digestion, better taste, better sleep patterns and not to mention the long-term health benefits.
LUNG CANCER SCREENING
Doctors Imaging in Metairie has been officially accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Certified Lung Cancer Screening Center. By using low-dose CT capability, radiologists are able to determine the presence of lung cancer better than ever before. Because of our state of the art 64-slice Siemens CT, our radiologists’ experience and highly trained staff, patients of Doctors Imaging can be assured that their lung cancer screening is thorough. Thanks to this accreditation, Doctors Imaging often sees the damage of smoking on the body and encourages the benefits of quitting smoking as soon as possible. We recommend that if you are over 50 and used to or still smoke cigarettes or tobacco, you should consider a lung screening. The earlier lung cancer is detected and treatment begun, the higher one’s chances are of survival.
If you would like to schedule a lung cancer screening CT or you have more questions about CT capabilities at Doctors Imaging, you can Book an Appointment or you can call our office at 504-883-8111 Monday through Saturday.