Annually, about 70% of U.S. smokers say they want to kick the habit. Out of these, only about 55% of individuals try to do so. However, just 7.5% of those who try to quit actually succeed for 6-12 months.
While you may be among the millions of smokers who have tried and failed to quit, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. It’s not uncommon for smokers to try several times before eventually succeeding long term.
Enrolling in a medically guided smoking cessation plan can increase your chances of achieving your goal. Wellness specialist Karl Trippe, MD, of Waco Primary Care in Waco, Texas, can provide the support and guidance you need to beat your physical and mental dependence on smoking.
Based on a comprehensive physical examination and medical history, Dr. Trippe creates an individualized plan that includes the smoking cessation strategies that best match your needs. Quitting smoking isn’t always easy, but it can be accomplished. A medically guided smoking cessation program may be just what you need to make this your final and successful attempt at quitting smoking.
Why it’s so hard to quit
Most smokers fail in their attempts to quit smoking because they find it difficult to combat their physical and mental dependence on nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that all tobacco products contain.
Research has labeled smoking as being as addictive as heroin or cocaine. When you use nicotine, your body releases dopamine, which produces temporary pleasing effects in your brain. As the effect begins to wear off, your body craves more nicotine, forcing you to reach for another cigarette.
As your dependence on nicotine increases, the effects of quitting and keeping your body from the nicotine it craves become more unpleasant.
How to increase your chances of success
Smoking cessation programs that provide several components can improve your chances of succeeding. If you’re serious about quitting, experts advise you to seek smoking cessation programs with the following characteristics:
- Physician advice
- Self-help materials
- Behavioral counseling
- Self-management techniques
- Support groups
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- Medicine that reduces your urge to smoke
- Follow-up on your progress
A medically guided smoking cessation program provides these benefits and more. In addition to including the program components that support success, you can access these benefits in the familiar and supportive environment of your primary care provider.
Nicotine replacement therapy
When administered as part of a medically guided smoking cessation program, prescription nicotine replacement therapy can help you gradually wean yourself off of this chemical. This treatment helps you gradually withdraw from smoking by using small amounts of nicotine that gradually decrease according to a predetermined schedule.
Nicotine replacement therapy products are manufactured in over-the-counter and prescription formulations. Using over-the-counter products without medical supervision can jeopardize your well-being if you have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or stomach ulcers.
Medications that promote smoking cessation
By working with a physician in a medically guided smoking cessation program, you can gain access to bupropion and/or varenicline, two FDA-approved smoking cessation products. These medications do not contain nicotine, but instead work to reduce the pleasing effects of nicotine and reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
While the benefits achieved by smoking cessation outweigh the risks of medication side effects for most smokers, these prescriptions are only administered under medical guidance. Taking this or any prescription drug can affect existing or undiagnosed medical conditions and threaten your well-being, so you must be under a physician’s care to use them.
Physician advice and monitoring
The ongoing physician support and monitoring you receive during a medically guided smoking cessation program can help you stay on track, so you can quit smoking safely and successfully. Periodic check-ins can help keep you motivated and responsible for your decisions.
The behavioral support you receive during a medically guided smoking cessation program can have a big impact on your results. When behavioral support is combined with smoking cessation medications or nicotine replacement therapy, your chances of achieving long-term smoking cessation increase up to 25%.
And if setbacks occur, Dr. Trippe can modify your program to find the strategies that work best for you. And throughout the journey, Dr. Trippe and his team provide an encouraging and empathetic environment.