Tobacco Use and Smoking Cessation
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and death throughout the planet. An estimated 500,000 people every year lose their life to this addictive problem in the US. Worldwide an estimated 4 million or more people die due to tobacco use and its associated diseases. Passive or 2nd hand smoking is very harmful and associated with greater impact than realized by most. Nicotine is a very addictive substance and most of the chemicals in tobacco are harmful to the body in many ways. No organ in the body is unaffected by tobacco, every tissue is damaged by these chemicals (1). It is similar to bathing in a cauldron of chemicals that leech thru your skin with each puff damaging and wreaking havoc with every cell as it makes its merry way in and out of your body.
Cosmetically people who smoke develop signs around their lips that forecast the fact that they smoke. These wrinkles are from the constant use of the lips to secure the cigarette grasp. The skin of an individual who smokes is less healthy and looks older than a comparable person of the same age. The effects on the collagen, a connective tissue in the body that provides support structurally is damaging and with time makes the breasts sag and hang down lower than is normal. A person who smokes often has bad breath and weak support structures for the teeth from periodontal disease.
Diseases associated with tobacco are heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, aneurysm, cancers of the lip, lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix and blood (1).
Pregnancy and smoking are very detrimental to the developing baby in utero. An estimated 16% of the ladies who are pregnant are using tobacco at that critical time (1). The absolute worst time is the first 2-8 weeks when all of the organs are forming. This critical time is extremely important to avoid any contact with chemicals with your body. Often at this time the future mother does not know they are pregnant due to the early stage of her condition and often hidden clues.
Nicotine withdrawl symptoms are disconcerting, they include mild depression, irritability, frustration, anger, anxiety, increased appetite, and weight gain (2). This weight gain is usually in the range of 4-6 kg due to changed metabolic rate, hand to mouth habits, oral gratification.
Glycemic control may be a concern to many during a quit attempt, especially women, so they are advised to decrease their calorie consumption when making an attempt. Blood glucose and insulin resistance are increased by both nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and smoking, so those with diabetes type II will need to have their sugar monitored more closely during a quit attempt. Insulin resistance will decrease making them somewhat more likely for hypoglycemia (2) and the insulin that their body will make, will work better as it should without the effect of nicotine or NRT.
The good news is that when one does quit smoking the body has an immediate positive response and has both short and long term benefits. Measurable cardiovascular benefits occur as early as 24 hours after quitting (1). It is estimated that quitting in time reduces your disease likelihood in about 5-15 years to that of a nonsmoker. People who quit after a heart attack reduce their chances of another heart attack by 33% (1). Quitting is not easy and relapse rates are high in the first few months and first few quit attempts but after repeated attempts and success after 1-2 years, relapse rates are 1-2%.
There are proven effective prescription and over the counter medications to use to help with this admittedly difficult process. I would be very happy to help you and write your prescriptions so we can get you thru this life depleting habit. I will do this in a non-judgemental manor. I know it is very hard to do this, but it is well worth the effort and I have had a good track record in helping people quit.
Call me at 817-274-2343, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 817-614-8022 , we can communicate and then schedule an appointment and then let’s get you started on a path to being healthy again!!
Patient Education and useful resources
- The 5 minute clinical consult: S. Lindsey Clark pp 1326-1327.
- Epocrates: tobacco abuse, highlights and basics