Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/29/2020 --If the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has taught individuals anything, it is a better understanding of how the air breathed in and out of our lungs can affect us and those around us. Masking, social distancing, and quarantining -- all to keep a tiny virus out of lungs. Experts remind us that lungs can be vulnerable and need to be kept healthy so they can keep us healthy. One of the best ways to keep lungs healthy is to never smoke or vape. And if individuals do smoke or vape already, the best thing to do is to quit.
"One of our focuses this year has been smoking cessation," said Jonathan Callaway, MD, a new pulmonologist in southern Utah. "At Intermountain's Pulmonary Medicine Clinic in St. George, we have been addressing smoking cessation with our patients who currently smoke. We want them to know we offer a great smoking cessation program, counseling, medications, and nicotine replacement to support those who want to quit smoking."
Quitting smoking means breaking the cycle of addiction. Dr. Callaway explains that smoking cessation is successful when the brain is retrained to stop craving nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Vaping also is a nicotine addiction and is not a healthy substitute for smoking tobacco. Health care professionals agree that vapes are not a smoking cessation tool.
"First, people need to have the desire to stop smoking," said Dr. Callaway. "If they've been smoking for 30 plus years it can be very difficult to stop. But if they are willing, really want to, and make a good plan, it can be done. Some people quit cold turkey, but most find success with a personalized plan that includes counseling and medication for nicotine replacement. It's a hard habit to break. With hard work it is possible and the health benefits are worth the work."
Studies show the benefits of quitting begin in less than one hour after the last cigarette or vape. Stopping smoking significantly reduces risk for diseases and conditions such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, heart disease, lung disease, COVID-19 complications, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and the list goes on and on. The health benefits of being a non-smoker such as living longer and healthier should be motivation enough to quit smoking.
"Because nicotine is highly addictive, medication is often a significant part of a cessation plan," said Dr. Callaway. "Nicotine replacement comes in many forms and there are new medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms. There are prescription and over-the-counter quit smoking medications. Ask your doctor about what medications may be right for you."
Counseling can help patients create a strategy that yields success by preparing in advance a plan to cope with the stress, cravings, and other issues they will face when quitting. Identifying and discussing reasons for quitting, triggers, and tactical measures with a medical professional will go a long way in getting on your way to being smoke free. Be smart, make a plan, choose tools, apps, and strategies to help make quitting a reality. Or there's always the cold turkey method too!
"Just do it! Decide today to quit for good," Callaway said. "Talk to us or your personal physician. We offer nicotine replacement therapies and a lot of support to people willing to do the work, make that change, and to quit smoking or vaping."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.