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Lets quit the nicotine

Written By M. Ryan Odom, MD

Lets quit the nicotine

April 6, 2022

Kicking Nicotine

Getting close to finishing the AHA Life’s Simple 7 – Kicking Nicotine. Over the last 20 years, nicotine has had a significant shift in American culture. There was a huge push to quit cigarettes and dip because of the cancers that it caused. However, in 2003 Vape pens were invented and slowly over the last two decades, they have become the primary way people ingest nicotine, especially in our younger population.

What about vaping?

We know that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of lung cancer. However, we are still determining the long term impacts of vaping. When a person vapes, they inhale heavy metals, potential carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and nicotine. Long term – we don’t know the affects of most of these inhalants.

Nicotine, however, we know has long term deleterious effects. Specifically, it affects blood pressure, heart rate, and narrowing of the arteries. Within 1 year, your risk of heart disease goes down by half!

How can we quit?

  • Set a quit date within the next 7 days.
  • Choose a method: cold turkey or gradually.
  • Decide if you need help from a health care provider, nicotine replacement or medicine.
  • Prepare for your quit day by planning how to deal with cravings and urges.
  • Quit on your quit day.

What resources are available locally?

The Panhandle Health System has a tobacco cessation program that worked well for one of our patients – Deb B. They provided her nicotine patches, resources and check ins. She said it was amazing and this is the first time in many years that she has been off nicotine for over 3 months now.

https://panhandlehealthdistrict.org/quitting-tobacco/

Our clinic: if we would like some other pharmalogic options to help quit smoking, we are glad to meet with you and develop a plan to help. We can use multiple options that could be the best for you and your goals.

What should we watch for if we smoked?

Men who have smoked will need a 1 time aortic ultrasound to evaluate for swelling/ballooning (aneurysm) between the age of 65-75.

Everyone that smoked for >20 years (pack per day average) and quit <15 years ago will need annual Low Dose Chest CT looking for lung cancer from 50-80.

 As always, if you are read this and you want to discuss anything or your interested in smoking cessation, please let’s make an appointment and get you moving in the right direction.

Cheers,

Dr. Odom and Dr. Silakoski

North Idaho DPC

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