Help Patients Quit Tobacco
Most quit attempts are made “cold turkey”, which has a success rate of around 3-5 %. Research has shown that when patients engage in tobacco treatment, their chances of quitting – and staying smoke-free – increase dramatically. As a supplement to your medical expertise and in-house resources, here are some other tools you can employ to make the quitting process easier for your patients.
Medications & Treatment
There are currently several medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration that you can prescribe to control nicotine cravings and help tobacco users quit:*
- Zyban (also called Bupropion or Wellbutrin)
- Chantix (also called Varenicline)
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Replace regular tobacco use with specialty products that supply just enough nicotine to manage cravings and help relieve withdrawal symptoms: nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays are all viable options.*
Tobacco Treatment Support
Referring patients to the Maine QuitLink will connect them with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist who will offer advice and support that can help participants stay tobacco-free for life. Counseling is free, confidential and done over the phone or online, offering personalized support geared toward the smoker’s life.
People who receive phone support from the the Maine QuitLink are two to three times more likely to successfully quit tobacco than those who try quitting on their own.** Learn More >
Tips from Former Smokers® Campaign
Sometimes the best motivation is hearing about one’s struggle from someone who has been there. The CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers® campaign provides personal stories that show the real-life health consequences of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
From 2012-2015, CDC estimates that over 9 million Americans have tried to quit smoking cigarettes because of the campaign, and over half a million have quit for good.*** Learn More >
Nearly 9 out of 10 people who smoke start before their 18th birthday. Among those youth who continue to smoke into adulthood, a third will die prematurely.** For that reason, reaching out to young Mainers is critical in helping this latest generation know the risks and make the right decisions before they become addicted to tobacco/nicotine products.
The Sidekicks Program
The Sidekicks program helps give youth the skills and confidence to support their peers, while connecting them with a network of Adult Advisors and Ambassadors as a resource for questions and additional support. You can learn more about the Sidekicks program, and apply to become an advisor yourself, here.
Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, and relapses are common, difficult and discouraging. Here are some tips you can give patients to help them through a relapse – and improve their chances of avoiding subsequent episodes.*
- Write down the reasons and benefits for quitting
- Document progress and what it would take to start over
- Avoid triggers like alcohol use, stress and social situations that may trigger cravings
- Change your social behaviors and habits
Ask for support from friends, family and co-workers
- Introduce healthy behaviors like exercise and activities
- Seek counseling and support from a professional
- Know your loved ones will support your effort, just as much as your success
- Make a plan for cravings
Safely discard any remaining tobacco products
- Continue medications and treatment plan as directed
- Participate in therapy programs
- Be careful not to replace one addiction with another addictive substance or habit
*Prevention for ME
**MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence
***Centers for Disease Control and Prevention