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How To Quit Smoking

By EmpowHER
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Dr. Drew Pinsky explains that it can take up to nine tries before a person quits smoking. Here are his tips for success.

Shay Pausa:
We are used to seeing Dr. Drew dealing with hard addictions on Celebrity Rehab, but today he is here on EmpowHER talking about another addiction – smoking. Welcome Dr. Drew!

Dr. Drew:
How are you?

Shay Pausa:
Now Dr. Drew, a smoking addiction is probably just as dangerous as some of the hard drugs. It just takes longer to hurt us, right?

Dr. Drew:

It is certainly as dangerous, maybe more so and more pernicious because the fact is, once you hit bottom with cigarette it’s too late. It’s a heart attack; it’s stroke; it’s lung cancer; it’s emphysema; it’s colon cancer.

I am an internist by training and I am really frankly tired of my patients developing preventable causes of illness and death. I mean that is to say preventable illnesses and death that could be prevented by just stopping smoking. There are 46 million smokers out there, most of them want to stop but most of them don’t realize that it takes up to nine attempts to successfully stop.

Shay Pausa:
Now there are obviously a lot of challenges when you are trying to stop; like you said, it takes up to nine times. What are the toughest challenges that smokers face?

Dr. Drew:
Most people fail in the first few weeks. In fact, if people attempt cold turkey on their own they are very unlikely to be successful. That’s one of the things that’s motivating to come out this morning. There’s a new nicotine replacement product from Nicorette called the mini lozenge that is something that’s very rapidly acting and can get people through those moments when the cravings are intense and the most likely moments in which people are likely to cave to those cravings and completely abandon their smoking cessation attempt.

Shay Pausa:
Now we have a lot of moms in our audience; talk to me a little bit more about her smoking or that of dad smoking is impacting their kids.

Dr. Drew:
Look, not only is that… first of all, this is going to cause illness if you are a smoker. If you are a parent your children are more likely to smoke. If they start doing at adolescence it’s more rapidly and severely addictive. It’s something that can be treated and you need to get help for it, but don’t despair if you’ve been unsuccessful in the past. People do stop but it often takes multiple attempts.

You being a smoker makes it much more likely that your kids are going to be a smoker and adolescence is a critical period of brain development when if exposed to tobacco, the disease, the addiction becomes more rapid and more intense. You are literally committing your kids to a lifelong struggle with a severe addiction to tobacco – something that will cause illness.

It will cause heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, cancers, and to allow kids to think magically about this, that somehow it’s no big deal or I am only doing it occasionally or I can stop when I want to, that’s the magical thinking of adolescence. We as parents cannot cave into that thinking because the reality is because of the way their brain is during that period of development, they are going to get addictive and they are going to get severely addicted.

Shay Pausa:
Really important, so what are the steps to quit?

Dr. Drew:
So I have gotten through to you and you are now ready, now you want to stop - pick a date. In my experience, I often tell my patients to start using some sort of nicotine replacement before that stop date and then really maybe perhaps under your doctor’s direction, talk to a doctor about it, how to optimize the use of these products and then use psychosocial support. That is say reach out to other people struggling with addiction to nicotine.

We actually have a website out there out there, Facebook/nicorette, where you can develop relationship with other people that can support you, a community to whom you can be accountable and what a lot of people don’t realize is, alone we don’t regulate our emotions well and if our emotions are just regulated we are more likely to reach outside of our body to use something to regulate, and if you get upset that you are using food so you go back to cigarettes or you go straight to cigarettes or god knows some other substance gets involved, don’t let that happen. Use psychosocial support and these social networking sites as one way to do it.

Shay Pausa:
Very interesting, well thank you so much. Now you mentioned Facebook but is there another site we should go to for more information?

Dr. Drew:
Also nicorette.com has some very cool behavioral instruments that can help you externalize the success or perhaps the drawbacks you are having in your attempt to stock.

Shay Pausa:
Thank you Dr. Drew. This is good information and we appreciate all you do to help people improve their health.

Dr. Drew:
Thank you so much.

Shay Pausa:
And of course you can get much more information and support to help you or someone you love quit smoking right here on EmpowHER.com. You can search ‘stop smoking’ or visit our addictions condition pages.

Thanks for joining us today. I am Shay Pausa for EmpowHER. I will see you next time.

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