With Sarasota Memorial’s Lung Health Experts
It’s a new year — a time when many commit to better habits by setting new year’s resolutions.
One of the most common resolutions happens to be one that can have the most impact on overall health and quality of life: quitting smoking.
“The benefits of not smoking last forever,” explains Sarasota Memorial Respiratory Coordinator Rosalie Orrostieta, APRN.
Did you know that after smoking your last cigarette:
- Your blood pressure drops to normal within 20 minutes?!
- Your blood oxygen level increases within 8 hours?!
- Your breathing improves and your overall energy increases within 2 to 12 weeks?!
Quitting smoking is also one of the hardest resolutions to stick with. But you don’t have to do it alone.
If you’ve resolved to quit tobacco this year, give it your best shot with the below tips and tools from Sarasota Memorial’s lung health experts.
Top Tips for Quitting Smoking
It’s Never ‘Just 1 Puff’
“After you quit smoking, there's no such thing as bumming 1 cigarette. That 1 cigarette you bum quickly turns into a pack you’ve bought. You're always 1 puff away from a pack a day. I've had patients go 5, 10 years down the road, and then after that 1 puff, they go back to smoking. Don't let that be you. Don't take that 1 cigarette. Don't even take the first puff.” — Kirk Voelker, MD, Critical Care Pulmonologist, Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota Campus
Get Rid of Reminders
“Get rid of anything you associate with smoking, like ashtrays and lighters. Wash laundry that might smell like cigarette smoke. Clean upholstery or carpets that may hold the smell. Then use air freshener to deodorize any lingering scent. You don't want to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.” — Sarasota Memorial Lung Health team
The More You Smoke,
The More You Stroke
"Smoking doubles your risk of stroke. There are 7,000 toxic chemicals in cigarettes that can lead to inflammation within the blood vessels, causing arteries to harden, making the heart work harder, and increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
"The good news is that 5 years after quitting smoking, your stroke risk is the same as someone who never smoked."
— Jill Garrett, APRN,
Secondary Stroke Prevention Clinic
Beat Nicotine Cravings
“Worried about nicotine cravings? If you start to crave a cigaretter, try this instead of lighting up:
- Deep breathing. Take a deep breath of nice, clean air.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Distract yourself by finding something else to do — pop on some music, dance, go outside for a walk, play with a pet or call a friend.
Your craving should pass in 3 to 8 minutes.” — Sarasota Memorial Lung Health team
Tools to Quit
“Did you know that if you use nicotine replacement therapy — nicotine gum, patches or lozenges — to quit smoking, you're 2 to 3 times more likely to be successful?!
“If you smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day, we recommend using dual therapy to quit. That means is using the nicotine patch, plus using the gum / lozenge for breakthrough cravings throughout the day. Nicotine replacement therapy is safe, effective and easily tolerated by most people. There also are 2 prescription medications that can help you quit nicotine: Zyban and Chantix. Zyban (bupropion) can help you manage cravings and can be used in combination with nicotine gum, patches or lozenges. Chantix (varenicline) can help ease withdrawal symptoms and break the addiction cycle. Discuss these options with your healthcare provider or a pharmacist.” — Amie Miller, ARNP, Lung Cancer Screening Program Coordinator
We’re Here to Help
“It's never too late to quit smoking,” says Orrostieta. “We’re here to help!”
Call 941-917-5864 (941-917-LUNG) for information and resources on our free smoking cessation programs.
Written by Sarasota Memorial Senior Digital Communications Specialist Ann Key, who manages the health system's Healthe-Matters blog and newsletter, as well as its social media and other wellness content channels. Have a health question or a wellness topic you'd like a local expert to weigh in on, let her know: Send an email to AskAnExpert@smh.com.