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Ready to Quit? Learn AboutYour Choices

Choosing a successful course includes support

Mission has made it clear that smok- ing at work is not an option beginning May 1. While some staff members will choose to manage their addiction during work hours, others are using the time to make a clean break from nicotine. Either wa , there are resources you can use to make the transition easier and more suc- cessful.

“What works well for some may not work well for others,” says Donna Borowski of Mission’s Nicotine Dependence Program. “The best quit smoking aid in your arsenal is your own will and determination. For those who are really motivated, almost any of the aids have the potential to work beautifully.”

The first and most important aid is support. Of course, many people quit suc- cessfully by going “cold turke ,” but that can be uncomfortable and extreme. Mission’s Nicotine Dependence Program counselors offer a blame-free approach and support for their clients who commit to the program. It’s free for all staff. And if you participate in Mission’s Choice Plan and work through the Nicotine Dependence Program, Mission will pay for the nicotine replacement therapy aid you choose.

There are a variety of products on the market designed to help people kick their nicotine addiction gradually and more comfortably. Choosing the one that’s right for you is a matter of preference, barring

any medical concerns that you have. It’s a good idea to ask your physician about what options would work best before you make a decision.

NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) provide a measured dose of nico- tine to help ease the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Unlike cigarettes, which contain poisonous and/or carcino- genic chemicals, NRTs contain only nico- tine. When used according to the manu- facturer’s directions, NRTs allow one to withdraw from nicotine by gradually reducing the amount of it in each dose.

Nicotine replacement therapies come in patches, gum, inhalers, lozenges and

nasal spray.

The downside of NRTs is that they contain nicotine, the addictive compo- nent in tobacco, so a certain risk of re- addiction is involved when using these products. However, if you follow the man- ufacturer’s directions carefully and wean off the NRT of your choice as specified, this can be a safe and comfortable way to end your smoking addiction.

NICOTINE-FREE QUIT AIDS

Several quit smoking aids are available now that do not use nicotine as an active ingredient. The following therapies are given under the care of a physician or Staff Health Services.

  • Bupropion hydrochloride, marketed

under the names Zyban, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL by GlaxoSmithKline, is an anti-depressant drug that also works well as a smoking cessation aid. It has been shown to dramatically reduce physi- cal withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine.

  • Varenicline Tartrate was developed

by Pfizer, Inc., and is marketed under the trademark of Chantix. Approved by the FDA in May 2006, Chantix has the unique ability to partially activate nicotinic recep- tors in the brain, reducing a person’s crav- ing for nicotine when he or she quits smoking. Additionall , if a person smokes

during the course of varenicline treat- ment, the drug impedes smoking satisfac- tion by blocking nicotine from binding with these same receptors.

OTHER QUIT SMOKING METHODS AND REMEDIES (NOT OFFERED BY MISSION HOSPITALS)

  • Hypnosis puts people into an altered

state of mind where they become more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to quit smoking, and while it seems to work well for some, it isn’t for everyone. Learn what you need to know to decide if it’s right for you.

  • Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese

medical practice which uses needles placed at specific spots in the skin to treat pain or disease. It can be used to treat addiction to nicotine. There have been no studies or consistent evidence that acupuncture or accupressure are effective.

  • Alternative therapies such St. John’s

wort and ginseng have been promoted to help people fight the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Use of St. John’s wort has been found in some studies to have some effect, but not long-term. Ginseng has been shown to prevent the nicotine- induced release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is what makes peo- ple feel good after smoking and is part of the addiction.

Of course, withdrawal from nicotine is just one part of the healing process we go through while recovering from nicotine addiction, says Borowski. “At the Nicotine Dependence program we help you let go of the many mental associations that have built up over the years. For example, peo- ple say they always smoke when they get in the car, or after a meal. We’re going to give you alternatives to that behavior.

“Quit aids cannot help us with this aspect of healing, but support and educa- tion can,” she says. “Mission is committed to providing the resources it has to help our staff members cope with their addic- tions or even better, quit the habit.”

So research and select your quit aid/method of approach, add some sup- port and education through the Nicotine D e p e n d e n c e P r o g r a m , a n d y o u r e o n y o u r

way. If one method doesn’t work, try another.

Call one of the counselors at the Nicotine Dependence program to get started: 213-0291, 213-0292, or 213-0296.

Scope • April 18, 2008 • 3

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