Smoking is not just a bad habit; it's an addiction. This was one of the most important things I wanted to get across when talking with Drs. Travis and Ordon on The Doctors. My mother was one of the strongest women I have ever known. I believed she could do almost anything. But the one thing she could not do was quit smoking. Unfortunately, smoking, as a risk factor for stroke, helped lead to her death.
Today, over 46 million people in the United States smoke. The effect of this smoking goes beyond the 46 million. Millions of people are affected through exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking is responsible for an estimated $96 billion in public and private healthcare costs. More importantly, smoking and exposure to smoke kills over 400,000 people in the United States annually, according to a November 2011 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Making the decision to quit is one of the most important decisions you can make to improve your health.
One of most important steps you can take is to talk to your doctor about quitting. When talking to your doctor, make sure to:
- Tell your doctor about your previous attempts to quit (what worked and what didn't). Your doctor may not be aware of your previous attempts. Don't worry. Your doctor knows that most people aren't successful at first. (The average smoker tries to quit 6-9 times in a lifetime.)
- Mention approaches or treatments that you've tried before and what you liked or didn't like about them.
- Ask about any different types of treatments or approaches that might work. Adding counseling or support to any treatment prescribed by the doctor is a great way to increase your likelihood of success.
There are many resources available to help you quit smoking. A sample of those resources is listed just to the right. Don't stop trying! Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself.